Nowadays people forget the importance of art in their everyday lives. They accredit more of what they do to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which is also a huge contributor, but leave the arts as something optional. I assure you, the arts are just as important and necessary to know and understand.
Almost anything can be considered art; sculptures, drawings, written word, spoken words and music all fall under this category. Considering this, most people partake in several types of art each day and that is not by accident.
According to Visual Arts, the first signs of art are recorded to be 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Since then we’ve evolved to incorporate art into our culture and it has even been hypothesized that it is the reason why our brain has grown so much. Through the use of precise hand-eye coordination to make tools, which could be considered an art, our brain evolved to into more complex thinking.
Arts and STEM
Advocating for the arts does not make STEM any less important. If anything art complements that the findings in theses subjects. In December of 2016 Psychologist Alex Forsythe from Liverpool University discovered that art may be able detect early signs of dementia.
A mathematical method called “fractal analysis” was used to compare handwriting and brushstrokes of artists. Over 2,000 works by seven famous artists were analyzed and they uncovered small changes in their patterns.
“In artists who went on to develop dementia or Parkinson’s disease, the fractal patterns started to change in an unusual way,” Forsythe said in an interview with BBC. “So what we found was that up to 20 years, before they actually had a diagnosis of a neurological disorder, the fractal content in the paintings had started to decrease.”
Arts can not only detect diseases, but they may also be able to cure or treat disorders. The arts for most is an outlet for the imagination to run wild and without the criticisms of the outside world, because it is usually only done for the artist’s own satisfaction. With that being said, it is no surprise that art is used to treat anxiety.
Art therapy seems to be making headway in treating for disorders, after all else fails. According to Art Therapy, looking at and making art can discover underlying issues that may have never been found otherwise.
“Art and art making are inherently perceptually and sensory based and involve the brain and the body in ways that verbal language does not,” the Art Therapy website said. “Art therapy provides an alternative means of communicating for those who cannot find the words to express anxiety, pain or emotions as a result of trauma, combat, physical abuse, loss of brain function, depression and other debilitating health conditions.”
Art influences technology just as much. Although it is not directly used in the programing of software, it does affect distribution to the public. How many times do you hear, “I bought it because it was pretty/it looked cool.” After the technology is made, in order for it to sell programmers rely on designers to make it look appealing, because people are attracted to things that look good.
After the product is made and it looks good, it has to be marketed. The best features have to sell in a way that makes everyone, even people who don’t need it, feel like they want it. Being able to relate and get your point across swiftly to make others agree with you is an art all on it’s own. That is the art of communication.
Should it just be STEM?
In 2014 the debate of whether or not STEM should be changed into Science, Technology, Arts, and Math (STEAM) was in full force. In 2017 the debate was still not settled, but we should heed the warnings of those from 2014. Anne Jolly, another teacher, stated that the STEAM should have a mission to apply art to the real world, and to not teach STEM to be creative.
“Just one word of caution, though. Art is often touted as a method of adding creativity to STEM-but keep in mind that engineers are rarely lacking for creativity and ingenuity. Just look at the world around you for proof,” Jolly said. “The purpose of STEAM should not be so much to teach art, but to apply art in real situations. Applied knowledge leads to deeper learning.”
Now, the arts seem to still be thought of as an expendable aspect of society as President Donald Trump makes plans to cut spending for the arts by $10.5 trillion over the next decade. According to Washington Post and Hill’s reporter, Alexander Bolton, this means the National Endowment for the Arts Humanities will become nonexistent.
This “plan” is ridiculous, because the arts are an essential part of society. The saying goes, “Earth without art is just ‘Eh.’” At the end of the day, the arts are fun.
They allow you to express yourself in any way you feel comfortable. In a society where people are constantly judged on what they what they do or don’t do, it feels good to know that there is a subject where doing what you like is always the best answer.