On the city beat: Lively arts students brighten St. Paul core

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , ROCHELLE OLSON
  • Updated: December 30, 2011 - 7:27 PM
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stefanjohaJan. 4, 1210:55 AM

I am a strong supporter of the arts, but educating kids in the vaccuum of art schools troubles me. Though they are, after all, teenagers, the self-importance and self-celebration of these kids show an education desperately lacking in social obligation, humility, and empathy. Why do we send kids to grow up and learn in an insulated bubble? Why should creative kids without connections, the motivation of their parents, or the knowledge of their own abilities be forced to attend our dreary factory-farm public school system while others are allowed to pursue the slightest creative urge in-depth and with nearly unlimited resources? To create healthy, socially-minded and compassionate people we desperately need arts education, but in public schools. We need to learn skills and desires in the context of our society, not as a privileged few who are "special" enough to get grades for practicing guitar and dancing. Schools like this only enforce the elitist perception of art and artists, simultaneously creating artists with no sense of reality and turning other creative thinkers (with great potential but uninterested in the institutional and white/male-dominated forms of expression and/or lacking the encouragement to seriously pursue art) into unthinking cogs. Comprehensive and inclusive education is the key - we can't keep segregating our kids and think that any kind of strong community or unified society will be the result.

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