This website is dedicated to the integration of the arts into the urban public school curriculum. With budget cuts happening within these schools, the arts are usually the first thing to go because they are not yet seen as “necessary” to the general public. However, more and more research is being done to prove this misconception wrong and ignite the fire that is art integration.
To get a picture of how art integration works in schools, above is a video of how an artist-in-residence program is approached at Four Seasons A+ Elementary School in St. Paul, MN. The school uses art as a vehicle to approach all academic subjects and get all students engaged with the material and each other.24
However, due to the various limitations many urban public schools have, programs such as the artist-in-residence seen above are not yet provided within school walls. Because of this, many grass root programing is happening in urban communities around the United States in order to provide students with and outlet for creativity in order to nurture and spark interest in school.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Although research shows the arts improve traditional academic areas, there are still many schools that are without art teachers and/or an art integrated curriculum. This is where grass root programing becomes really important. Ideally passionate community members are involved in integrating the arts into student’s lives. Many grass root programs involve local artists, or artists in residence spreading their knowledge to both students and teachers in order to develop a more arts integrated curriculum that can promote the future success for students across the academic board.
WHAT IS THEIR MESSAGE?
Every student is individual and therefore learns differently. The arts are an important aspect of student growth and development because they provide students from all walks of life with a safe and creative space to express themselves. Schools must learn to implement all forms of art throughout the curriculum if they wish to see students truly connecting with material at a level that fosters growth and empowerment.
HOW HAS ARTS INTEGRATION GRASS ROOT WORK AFFECTED STUDENTS IN SCHOOL?
The arts can spark student interest because they explain academic material through visual, kinesthetic, and audio means instead of just limiting it to one. This provides students with a creative outlet that has the ability to empower them because they are learning and retaining information in a way that is unique to them. Art implementation has been seen to raise test scores and improve other academic areas because it allows students to use a different side of their brain that promotes a deeper engagement to the material.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THEY ARE FACING?
Funding has always been a problem when it comes to providing ample resources for students to be engaged through the arts and teachers to be educated to teach in that way. It is not enough to throw some art supplies at a school and say it is integrated. Teachers must become trained in order to work with teachers of other disciplines to create a cohesive curriculum. Many people still fail to recognize the influential affects an arts-based curriculum can have. Spreading the word and positive research findings is key to the implementation of arts integration throughout public schools in the US.