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    The Benefits of Taking Arts in High School

    Posted by Kate Oczypok
    A young male artist leans over a new painting, focussed

    Studying the arts in high school can be beneficial as students graduate, attend college and begin their careers. The arts cultivate a sense of empathy, help students find success at colleges and in their careers and foster a better sense of community and communication. Here are just a few reasons why studying the arts in high school are instrumental for future success.


    Studying the Arts Can…

    Touch on Creativity for Career Prep

    In today’s world, employers look for employees who have a lot of creativity. By studying disciplines in the arts field, students can develop creative skills that help them when they’re searching for work postcollege. “Beyond offering a glimpse of what a career in music, dance or other creative disciplines might look like, studying the arts presents opportunities for students to be exposed to new perspectives and to discover who they are — and who they want to be,” said Trey Devey, president of the Interlochen Center for the Arts (Interlochen, Michigan). “Art forms, such as creative writing and theater encourage introspection and empathy as students reflect on their own lived experiences, craft realistic characters and examine how they relate to their role.”

    Devey said students also learn to process and communicate their emotions as they interpret musical phrases, inhabit characters in theater and dance productions and create films, visual artwork, poems and personal essays. “Most importantly, the arts build confidence, foster friendships and provide a lifelong source of enjoyment and creative fulfillment,” he said.


    Help Find Success in Careers

    Learning a musical instrument (or continuing to study one) in high school can be a huge benefit for success in a career as an adult. When studying an instrument, it’s essential to have discipline, patience and be consistent with practicing. Cultivating that same discipline and patience as a teen can result in success as an adult in your chosen career. You’ll be better at making deadlines, staying focused and other crucial qualities for succeeding as a working adult.


    Result in Successful College Outcomes

    Most high schools have an arts program, whether big or small. If you’d like to focus more deeply on the arts, attending an arts-specific high school that is also academically challenging can be helpful. College admissions departments recognize the amount of work and commitment it takes to achieve at a school for the arts. Interlochen Center for the Arts reported that 96% of their graduates were accepted into one of their top three colleges.


    Make for Great Communications Skills

    These days, with the ubiquity of phones and how easy texting can be, learning to communicate face-to-face or over the phone is crucial to success for a teen’s future. The communications skills developed through artistic means by high school students can ultimately help them express their feelings in a creative way. Also, students with learning disabilities or those who aren’t as extroverted can communicate with others using an arts discipline — they could paint a picture, write a song or perhaps write a poem.


    Provide Collaborative Skill-Building

    The arts, such as planning for and performing in a school musical or creating a mural for a school hallway, create opportunities for collaborative skill-building. In collaborative learning, students can learn how to successfully work together on a project that many have contributed There’s no better feeling than being a part of a piece of artistic expression.


    Help Develop Empathy, Create Changemakers and Create Enjoyment

    Buzzy programs of late are all about STEM. Studying the arts can only enhance skills in those fields — for example, students can take a look at technological developments, like AI, and ask whether they’re right or wrong to pursue on an ethical level. Not to mention, when art is shared, it often tells a story. High school students are better inclined to be empathetic toward a fellow student when they learn about their story through art.  Students can go on to become changemakers in their communities through highlighting social issues, encouraging diversity and inclusion and encouraging a better sense of community.


    In Summary

    Nicholas Roux, co-chair of the humanities department at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, spoke about the importance of studying the arts. “The creative process teaches resilience,” he said. “Art-making is iterative, often collaborative and workshop-based. Students learn the ability to receive feedback, work with others and revise their work multiple times.”

    Art also develops skills needed to navigate an uncertain world. “Because art uses form to convey meaning, studying art-making is learning how to create forms that bring cohesion to experiences that haven’t happened yet,” Roux said. “This is a powerful tool for a young person — they’re able to bring creative coherence to their inner experiences and reconcile them with the outside world.”

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    Kate Oczypok