My name is Terra Stenberg and I'm responding to Ms. Aho's letter to the editor on April 21 - "Don't cut Art Education." I couldn't agree more, I teach secondary art at Stephenson High School and I see firsthand, the difference a good art education makes in my students' lives. The arts benefit students on a personal scale, and help them develop socially, cognitively and intellectually. It teaches students perseverance and ingenuity. The arts benefit those who are economically disadvantaged or who don't exceed in other subject areas in school. The arts benefit those who do excel in school. For a lot of my students, this is the one class they can express themselves or communicate ideas, emotions, or a life experience or story. I could go on all day about the importance of an art education but instead I decided to take a voluntary poll on what my students think of the arts in education. I want readers to hear about the arts in education from the people most affected.
"Art, to me, ought to be important to everyone. It appears in our lives every day whether it's by way of a painting, a building, music, or in countless other ways. In my opinion, school is one of the most important places to have art, especially art classes as they allow the students who take them to express their feelings or show their inner selves on paper or canvas. Art classes also open my future educational or occupational opportunities. The way I see it, the cancellation of art classes would be a dire blow to our country, culture, and the student body itself. I personally, would feel crushed and would feel like I have less freedom if art class was eliminated." Bryan Troutt, ninth grade
"Art education is extremely important to me. Some people might not agree with me. Some people think that art is just a 'blow off' class and would rather have sports. Well, art is my sport. It's the only thing I know. Art teaches me patience & how to keep going even if I want to stop. Once I am finally finished with my work, I feel proud of myself. If we didn't have art, I wouldn't be able to experience that. If art was eliminated I would feel crushed." Audrey Danielson, 10th grade
"Art is important in schools because the world needs art. If art was cut from schools, well- there goes the billboards that catch people's attention and interesting magazine illustrations. You know the flashy stuff that gets people to buy a company's products." Nicole Leaveck, 11th grade
"I think the arts are important because they allow students to express themselves. The guidance provided also helps build skills that will stick with students in the future. If it was eliminated, I would feel like something was stolen from me." Lauren Bartell, 11th grade
"Not many people think art class is important. Well, it is- we need Art & Design programs. Why? If you look at the world today there are a lot of advertisements, clothing designs, and animated movies. All those things need a base to be built on. If we have programs that help kids get a better look on how art can help them achieve goals and may even turn them towards an artistic career. Art also teaches kids to work hard and learn the skill of managing time and hand/eye coordination. Sometimes kids/teens go into a relaxed state which allows them to think and focus. The changing world needs art and graphic design students. Art classes help to give students a better learning experience." Megan Grinsteiner, 12th grade