Oh, for art’s sake

Published 7:16 pm Friday, September 29, 2017

Schools across the nation are suffering. Budgets are being cut. Positions are being cut. More is being expected from those who remain in this noble, but sometimes beleaguered, profession.

Another important piece of the puzzle is sadly being drained from the curriculum — the arts. Why that’s unfortunate is not because children can’t color in class. It’s because there’s a direct connection between learning the arts and academic achievement.

For example, a recent Harvard study — one of many such studies proving the same — found that there’s a link between learning to play music and spatial reasoning, which translates to an upswing in math achievement. Another link has been established between classroom drama and verbal skills: enacting texts improves students’ ability to their reading readiness, reading achievement, oral language skills, writing skills and increases both written and oral understanding/recall of stories.

That’s a lot.

Oh, there is still art in schools, but its presence isn’t what it once was. It seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to provide all the learning children need for their many tests nor enough money to bring more arts — performing, visual and more — into the classrooms.

That’s where Arts of the Pamlico comes in. One of the nonprofit’s shifts in focus has been in bringing more art to more youth more of the time. A variety of art camps were offered at the Turnage Theatre throughout the summer, children’s programming throughout the year and Saturday marks the second-annual Hands on Art Festival, where children can listen to music, participate in a variety of art projects, watch demonstrations by artists and even join East Carolina University’s Storybook Theatre troupe for a stage production.

And all of it is free.

Art isn’t just for fun. It promotes academic growth. Parents and other caregivers are invited to help their children grow at Festival Park in downtown Washington on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They might want to take advantage of that offer, for art’s sake.