I’m guessing at least half of my readers have some connection to the arts, whether they create art themselves, studied it in school, or have kids involved in the arts. Whatever that connection may be, we all can agree that the arts matter.
I can throw statistics at you until we both go cross-eyed, but here is my story:
I don’t know what I would have done without the arts as a kid. I certainly would have had fewer friends. My musical experiences taught me the value of patience and teamwork, and have helped shape my views on the importance of collaborate over competition. In college, my interest in the arts helped me build a well-rounded education, since I explored all sorts of subjects connected to the arts. I completed a semester in Vienna, Austria, in order to study the arts–and learned so much more than I’d anticipated. The semester right after that, my interest in the arts (and the need to explore practical arts-related careers) led me to an internship at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and after that, I began a master’s degree in musicology.
So why am I leaving the arts now to pursue a career in counseling? Well, I feel that my personality, skills, and values are well-suited for the field, and I feel that I can make a difference in the world by helping others directly. That doesn’t mean my experiences in the arts were for naught. My ability to think analytically and creatively–two important abilities for counselors–came straight from years of practicing, performing, analyzing, discussing, and creating within the arts. I tend to take the same approach to counseling in order to explore the field more thoroughly. In short, the arts spark creativity than can help in all fields.
The arts have been found to be very useful in helping many types of counseling clients, whether for emotional expression or enrichment of life. Without arts education and public arts, however, future counselors won’t have any knowledge base from which to draw, and future clients may be less receptive to creative interventions. Overall, our society will become a more drab and less creative one.
If the arts and arts education are important to you, please consider taking a moment today to contact your congresspeople and tell them why. To save time, here is some help provided by Americans for the Arts. Thank you for letting the world know why the arts matter!