A few weeks ago, educators gathered in Albuquerque for the first New Mexico Ted conference to focus on education. A few speakers argued for the critical importance of arts in education.
Educator Gretchen Williams describes the magic that takes place when arts enter schools. “It takes place in a room that usually smells like milk, a cafeteria, a gym, something of that nature, but the space is transformed through imagination.” She argues that arts give students means to express themselves. “The kids get swept up in this process, they are fully engaged. There are no labels like ‘troublemaker’ or ‘wallflower’ or ‘athlete,’ even.” And it’s in that kind of safe environment, which arts create, that magic happens and students develop a joy for learning.
Denise Hinson, educator at Santa Fe Community College, explains, “I firmly believe that art is what makes us human, it is part of our special humanity. And so if we take that equation out of schools, we are not creating full humans.” She also encouraged educators to develop a passion for arts themselves, and bring that inspiration and joy back to the classrooms.