The U.S. Department of Education released its last research statistics in 2015 about art in schools, especially in public elementary and secondary schools. According to the documentation, arts have been cut consistently since 1970, the highest cuts happened in the school year 2009-10. Those cuts were permanent.
Fortunately, neither the public nor private schools in town have jumped on this bandwagon, which could have hurt the development of young students.
Art as a subject is not taken seriously; many see it as a luxury and not essential for a child’s success later in life. Scientists, however, vehemently disagree with this notion.
According to the Science of Early Childhood Development at Harvard University, the human brain development and higher cognitive abilities benefit directly from art.
Important brain functions develop better and faster with art and creativity. This includes higher intelligence, being able to deal with stress and having financial and social success.
All of these positive traits go back to the pruning process of the brain that starts four months before a child is born and lasts into a child’s late teenage years.
Roswell’s early learning programs in school, such as from the Creative Learning Center, bring the arts to all K-6 Roswell Independent School District students.
According to an interview with Robin Earwood, second-grade performing arts teacher, the art program is going strong. One unique aspect of the teachers at CLC is their background. “We teach every child as an artist, because we are artists,” Earwood said. Earwood’s musician persona is Robin Scott of the Robin Scott Trio.
“Our whole program is based on creativity. To teach creativity and how to be creative. We use the arts as an avenue, a vehicle for therapy, expression and for solving problems, because that is what art is,” Earwood said. “All great artists think outside the box. We are in a world where we need to think outside the box and art is just naturally that way.”
Other teachers are painters, sculptors and actors, such as Jenci Huebner, who has worked at CLC and now teaches at Immanuel Lutheran School. Huebner is on the board of the Neverland Theatre Company. She has played Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” and as Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.”
There is a direct connection between the sciences and art. In the time of multi-talented artists, architect and creator Leonardo DaVinci, who invented the first flying machine and painted the legendary “Mona Lisa,” art and science co-exist.
There are many artists who had dual identities as scientists and artists. Samuel Morse was a painter and invented the Morse Code. U.S. avant-garde composer George Antheil worked with actress Hedy Lamarr laying the foundation to wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day. Tom Scholz of the band Boston started out with an MIT degree working as an engineer. He is the pioneer of hi-fidelity home recording and invented the Rockman guitar amplifier. Mayim Bialik, actress in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” is a neuroscientist in real life.
The U.S. needs more scientists, forward-thinking entrepreneurs and inventors. It would be great if some of them come from Roswell.
Every year in spring the students show off what they learned at the Celebrate the Arts Day, an annual event that started 11 years ago.
CLC includes teaching dancing, music, poetry and writing as well as painting and other crafts. Two years ago, they started the Arts Connect project, giving out ukuleles to the sixth-graders of RISD.
“Art is fun, learning needs to be fun, that’s why I am super excited to get back to teaching performing arts,” Earwood said. “The Arts Connect program will be in its third year of providing ukulele lessons to all sixth-grade students of Roswell and it is gonna be a blast.”
A prime example of having an artistic approach to life and learning is seen at Pecos Elementary School. Their recent project, “The Faces of Pecos,” involved more than 400 little artists — the students of the school.
The project was covering an ugly cement column with tiles that the children made themselves. It was the last project touching off the renovation of the building. It included the children’s bathrooms as well.
Each of the bathrooms reflects the imagination of the children at the time. Every year the school gives the children a theme that involves all classes and projects.
Another example of the arts in schools happens at Berrendo Middle School. In 2015, Jeanette Main, arts teacher at BMS, started a talent show including prizes and awards. The HeART of Winter Extravaganza started in visual arts, but branched out to include the music department.
The language class joined as well. In 2015, the language class students had to do a professional critique of a famous painting, and last year they used a series of pictures to write a story about it.
Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.