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National Arts and Humanities Month
On October 1st, President Barack Obama proclaimed October as National Arts and Humanities month. As the arts lose strength in the standardized assessment based curricula being adopted by public schools, Obama’s proclaimation gives credence and value to our discipline. He sees the arts as being a part of education that inspires as it informs, strengthening our collective imagination and centering us in creativity and innovation as a nation.
During the Great Depression it was the arts that fed the soul of America. Great music, film, visual media and literary works came out of that era. We need the arts more than ever during this Great Recession, and unfortunately when the budget ax falls, the arts are first on the chopping block. Thankfully Obama has set a precedent by recognizing the importance of these subjects and the value that they bring to our society. Our next task as arts educators is to encourage the incorporation of the arts into the academic curriculum in our schools. It is important to value the arts as subjects that can stand on their own, but it is essential to the future of education to begin to utilize their potential to enhance and accelerate the comprehension of all other subjects.