Arts education in the 21st century is an unmistakably vital tool for success, a catalyst for skill development  in the business world and beyond. In celebration of Arts in Education Week September 13 – 19, here’s our list of five key life skills that kids learn when they make, study, and learn through art. 

1. Collaboration

Whether it’s working together to bring a Shakespearean play to life or performing as part of a youth orchestra, children learn to collaborate through the arts. A 2012 study commissioned by the National Endowment of the Arts and conducted by James Catterall found that the arts “create a feeling of connection and cooperation between students.” 

2. Creativity

Arts activities demand that students activate their imaginations and try new things.  Business leaders know that a highly-creative workforce gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace of ideas.  In fact, 72% of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they are seeking when hiring

3. Innovation 

Finding new ways to do things is a basic tenet of the arts themselves—revolutionary arts innovators like Monet and Stravinsky come to mind.  And innovative ideas often spring from the intersection of arts and science – did you know that Fleming’s discovery of penicillin was facilitated by his penchant for experimenting with different molds /compounds for his paints?  A creative kid tends to succeed in other disciplines, too:  a student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. 

4. Critical Thinking

Art makes you think, and think, and think some more. Kids exercise their powers of analysis when interpreting art, and those skills in critiquing and exploring alternative viewpoints then help them with other complicated texts and ideas in math, science, history, and other core curriculum: students involved in the arts are four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair.  

5. Communication

We all know that successful business depends on successful communication. Kids engaged in the arts learn how to effectively communicate an idea through a variety of mediums, from the full-body expression of dance to the resounding echoes of song. They also learn how to give and take constructive criticism and listen to the ideas of others.

These are just a few of the things kids are learning when they are engaged in arts education.  For all these reasons and more, ArtsWave is looking for more ways to support the arts that fuel creativity and learning in our region’s youth. What’s YOUR favorite reason for supporting arts education? Tell us at #ArtsRipple and help advocate for arts education for all with #ArtsEdWeek.

*All data provided by the Americans for the Arts Arts Navigator Guide: