by Taryn Jones
Art education is a topic that many people are not adequately informed about. They do not know how important and beneficial the arts are for students. Many areas have been cutting funding to the arts in public schools, taking away from students the opportunity to explore the world beyond what they already know. I was recently given the opportunity to discuss this topic with a man who has been incredibly influential upon my, and many other students’, view of the arts. Blair Chadwick has been the Henry County High school choral director for 7 years, but has been a huge supporter of art education for much longer.
“Art education provides a practical, meaningful application of academic subjects,” he explains. He goes on to note the different academics you may find in the teaching of fine arts. For example, there is extensive use of mathematics when reading music, while theatre helps students form a worldview by exploring different cultures through speech and text. This is not, however, the only reason Chadwick thinks that art education is so important.
“All teachers want their students to think, interact well with others, and give back to their community. Every form of art accomplishes at least these three,” he told me. For this reason, and many others, he believes that some form of art should be required of every student attending public schools. He went on to tell me that, in order to get kids that would normally not involve themselves in the arts to consider it, state and federal education advisors must put more emphasis on employing the arts. This will directly translate to the funding and curriculum for arts in local schools.
One of the more important things in art education is the teachers that are teaching each art. Our school system has been gifted with many great teachers over the years that care about their subject and genuinely “care about seeing students graduate knowing more about their art subject then they did when the teacher was the student’s age.” With teachers like Mr. Chandler, Mr. Humphreys, and Mrs. Todd guiding our students in the direction of art, we are bound to succeed. He told me that his favorite part of teaching is when a student is struggling to understand something and then the understanding finally happens. “Seeing a student’s confidence grow and realizing their brain really is an instrument that can grow stronger keeps me teaching.”
The interview concluded with Chadwick telling me that he believes our school has gone above and beyond in accepting and stressing fine arts curriculum. “I guess the next question is can our school system do more?”