How Should We Regard Creativity?

I have been involved in the arts since I was five years old, starting with dance. I did several different forms; ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical/contemporary, and later learned the piano and guitar. I am a declared studio art major and intend on pursuing something in the arts post-grad in hopes of doing something I love to gain a solid income. So, needless to say, I feel very strongly about the arts and how our schools regard it.

imagesKen Robinson’s Ted Talk in 2006 addresses this issue and if schools are actually killing student’s creativity rather than letting them embrace it. He states that “every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts.” Academic ability has overruled creativity in measuring individual’s abilities. The cliché that is brought upon those with a passion for the arts is that people rarely ever make it; artists, musicians, dancers, whatever it may be. We are so conditioned to first consider our ability to paint or play an instrument as a hobby rather than something that can be shaped into a career. Why don’t schools teach us ways in which we can pursue those as careers and treat it with as much regard as they do math or science?

The college I attend is known for its liberal arts academic system, so every student who attends must take quantitative analysis, natural science, social science, and literature courses in order to complete their undergrad degree. As someone who is clearly not a math or science person, I always thought it wasn’t fair that any form of art wasn’t required. Perhaps because the arts aren’t taken seriously, which is why my school also requires intended studio art majors to apply with a portfolio of work in order to get accepted, as to show that he or she is truly interested in the field. It was even worse indownload high school. I took an AP art class, which I thought would shed better light on the  creative potential I thought I had. However, I quickly discovered that despite it being an AP course, there were students in the class who were taking it simply because they were ‘bored’ and ‘wanted to take an easy class.’ I also found that there was no structure to the course at all; it was essentially what we would call back in elementary school “free time”. Not even a supposed art teacher felt the need to take their course seriously because art is so stigmatized as something to not be taken seriously, and that is a serious problem. Those who feel they have a talent in the arts are dissuaded from pursuing it professionally through the structure of the education system, which severely lacks the proper tools to succeed in the creative field. As Robinson states, “we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

What does this mean for artistically provoked individuals? The hope for the future is that there will be equal balance between the arts and academic ability and that an individual’s potential won’t just be measured by standardized tests and pop quizzes. As Pablo Picasso once said, “all children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”, and the way to adhere to this is by encouraging rather than averting creativity.


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