It’s taken me two full weeks to figure out what I wanted to say about this. I’ve written many versions of this blog, but when I woke up today I realized what it was that I really wanted to say. It’s not going to be very eloquent – in fact I think it’s going to get a little choppy. But I just want to get to the point.
The Arts saves lives. It has continually, throughout my entire life, been an irreplaceable outlet for me. It has saved my life numerous times.
The world knows me as a positive, happy person. Which is the truth. But I have my undercurrent of sadness and points of depression. And one of the things that continually came to my aid in these times was the arts. Music. Acting. Painting. Writing. I don’t know where I would be today without them. Certainly not living the life I am or pursuing this career. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be as happy, or feel as fulfilled. I was made to do these things – born to lead a life pursuing the arts. What would have happened if I was never provided with the education that taught me just how to use the things I felt inside of me?
What about the kids who maybe aren’t born to pursue a career in the arts but learn how to communicate through music, or find therapy in painting? What about the ones who learn how to make friends because they find common ground with their classmates who also feel the need to be on stage?
Education in the arts is not just about learning a craft, but developing crucial communication skills that can and will be applied later no matter what other field a person eventually enters. Additionally, the arts allows a person to communicate not just with others, but with themselves. Learning about yourself and learning to have love and confidence in yourself is one of the most important lessons you can learn in school.
As a voice teacher, my favorite moments with students are the ones where you can see them become proud of themselves – proud of their work. No longer afraid to let their voice be heard because they know that it matters. Because it does matter.
An arts education provides learning about cultures all over the world. Cultures that our children need to learn about to better understand how our world moves. How economies work. What is held sacred to others. Understanding each other is the only way the world can move forward in a positive way. Learning about passions expressed through art from all over the world helps provide that understanding.
You may not connect with another person because you come from two very different locations and upbringings. But what about that moment when you both realize that you have the same favorite song that came to your aid in a time of suffering or crisis. Suddenly you understand something about each other. A huge step towards having compassion for those who are different from you.
Education in the arts allowed me to learn about myself, kept me from bringing harm to myself when I was in my darkest moments, and helped bring light to my life every day.
Don’t discount the power of education in the arts just because you think it is not applied to life as readily as math or science. It is applied daily, in everyone’s lives – musicians, accountants, engineers, teachers, actors, mechanics. We are all alike – please don’t take away what teaches us that this is true.
Please sign this petition to keep the arts in the Upper Darby School District.