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Social Issues on Cutting Art Funding

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Social Issues of Cutting Art Funding

HUMN 100: Intro to Humanities
February 20, 2014

Social Issues of Cutting Art Funding

When school budgets become strained, one of the first cuts is to the art programs, these include; art classes, theater, and music. Cuts to the above programs are used as sacrifices for extra-curricular activities, perhaps the most popular football. One social problem in cutting arts is that it deprives future generations of current art displays, which are often statements about the time period. It is also more sociable acceptable to participate in sports over a play. Another issue is that artists will not be able to be successful in their career choice. Even with the criticism, the arts play a critical role in a student’s career; therefore, it is malpractice to cut funding to arts in order to pay for extra-curricular activities.
There are many benefits the arts can provide the common mass, whether it is entertainment, or stimulating thought and conversation. But the people or students involved in the performance or creating the art piece benefit the most. According to Mrs. Henry at the USA Today, the specific benefit one receives depends on the art discipline, “Drama helps with understanding social relationships. Music improves math achievement and proficiency, reading and cognitive development. Dance improves creative thinking, originality, and flexibility. Visual arts improve content and organization of writing.” According to Mrs. Henry, studying arts positively affect the student. Arts also can create a more pleasant atmosphere in schools and communities. Arts for LA say that students “Perform community service more than four times as often, as well as be four times more likely to be involved with a youth group.” Being involved with creative projects such as art, encourage students to bridge out and positively affect others around them.
In the world today, athletes separate themselves from common folk for being able to run faster, jump higher, or catch a ball, and are worshipped like gladiators. Meanwhile the idea of a starving artist is cultivated to steer potential students away from studying the arts, because artists will not be able to contribute to the workforce. In a recent study conducted by Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) rebuffs this claim. In the study, 13,000 art alumni were questioned regarding level of job satisfaction and where the former student is currently working. Of the participants, “57 percent are working as professional artists, 41 percent have done so in the past.” This also helps beat the stereotype that artists will only be able to find jobs flipping hamburgers, “with only three percent working in the fast food industry.” For the former art majors who do not currently work in their field of study, “54 percent said their arts training have been relevant to their non-art job.” This is because of the creative thinking arts help develop; students can translate this critical skill to businesses. The SNAAP study proves that art students can successfully contribute to society.
People who are in favor of cutting art funding in favor of extra-curricular activities claim that sports help better a student’s life. Holden Meyers at lists the benefits; "Kids in extracurricular activities tend to perform better academically than kids that are not. Their attendance is better, they have fewer discipline issues, and they perform at a higher level in the classroom.” Opponents also cite the low possibility of an artist becoming a financial successful professionally artist. The same SNAPP study of 13,000 art majors reported “very few professional artists reported being happy with their income (. . .) as well as only one-third of professional artists surveyed by SNAAP said they were satisfied with their level of job security.” According to opponents, sports also help students in life and there are a low number of successful professional artists.
One rebuttal in favor of art funding is that sports are a much bigger burden on school budgets. Yahoo Sports reports how financial problems at Paul Quinn College, in Texas led to the canceling of the entire football program, “Football was eating $600,000 of Paul Quinn’s budget.” This financial stress was eventually erased due to more profitable activity of farming produce on the football field. With Paul Quinn College no longer having to pay over half a million to football and because of the farming success, “the school has run a surplus of six or seven figures in four of the past five years. The money budgeted for football now goes to academic scholarships.” The actions of Paul Quinn College shows football can be the greatest debt at a college and eliminating the program allowed for scholarships that affect a greater number of students. Another rebuttal is that athletics can bread a negative attitude, in and outside of the sport. With many coaches at all levels of play fostering am attitude of “must win at all cost”, an attitude which, “can encourage cheating and difficulty getting along with others on and off the field.” Cheating and difficult coping with others are just a few of the negatives attributes competitive sports bring out. Opponents to arts mentioned the “starving artist” and the low likelihood of an artist making a living as a professional. People who support arts have another rebuttal, there is an even lower probability a student athlete turns professional. Business Insider mentions that there is an “eight hundredths of a percent” that a high school football player will play in the National Football League. According to the above reference, there is less chance for a student athlete becoming pro than an artist turning professional. People in favor of funding arts argue that sports create negative attributes, sports are also the greatest expense at schools, and the low chance of a pro sport career. During tense times like budget meetings, art classes appear to only be another line on a budget sheet and student development is an afterthought. The way art help develop students is difficult to quantify, win/loss records and championships speak for themselves. Because the gains of students on behalf of art are hard to measure, it is often cut. School administers fail to realize the positive impact art has on students and focus more on extra-curricular programs because winning in sports can bring immediate happiness to parents and portray the school in a positive light. School administers also fail to realize the social issues of cutting art. The social issues include being able to successfully contribute to the workforce and idolizing an athlete over an artist. Both art and sports positively impact students. However, sports can have a negative influence on the school and on the athletes. Art provide long lasting skills like; critical thinking, creativity, and reading development. Therefore, it is in the students best interest to not cut art funding.

“Why Students Need Arts Education”. accessed March 1, 2014.

Adelson, Eric. “Saying no to football paid off for one small Texas college thanks in part to the Cowboys”. October 31, 2013. accessed March 2, 2014.

Berret, Dan. “The Myth of the Starving Artist”. Inside Higher May 3, 2001. accessed March 1, 2014.

Henry, Tamara. “Study: Arts education has academic effect”. May 19, 2002. accessed March 1, 2014.

Huggins, Marice. “Negatives of Competitive Sports”. Feburary 13, 2014. accessed March 2, 2014.

Manfred, Tony. “Here Are The Odds That Your Kid Becomes A Professional Athlete”. Feburary 10, 2012. accessed March 3 2014.

Meyers, Holden. “The Positive Effect of Athletics on High School Student”. May 13, 2011. accessed March 2, 2014.

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