Why Business Should Care About Arts Education - thoughts on a Dana Foundation Symosium

Posted by Gary Steuer, May 29, 2007 0 comments

The Dana Foundation recently convened a symposium in New York on "Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education" as part of their ongoing commitment to arts education, as well as to the role the arts play in the development of the brain. Participants included a wide array of people from around the country who are leaders in arts education, including people from arts organizations, academia, government and the funding community.  [The link above takes you a page on the Dana Foundation site that includes some video excerpts from the Symposium.] I had the pleasure of participating as well, and found it particularly relevant to the work we are doing in linking the arts and arts education to workforce development issues. The better job we can do of getting business to be active advocates for arts education because they see it of benefit to their bottom line, the more effective we can be at getting greater recognition and funding of arts education in our educational system which has been so damaged by the relentless focus on measurement of a handful of subject area skills. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the Symposium conversation through this Blog. It is a longish entry so please remember to click the "more" link to read the whole report! Dr. David J. Skorton, President of Cornell University, gave a stirring opening keynote on the importance of the arts in education. He is trained as a musician, and supported himself performing jazz while pursuing his education as a scientist, doctor, biomedical research and academic. His talk wove actual examples of music of different genres into his speech, as well as snippets of video from musical performances. He talked with passion of his belief that arts exposure, participation and training results in graduates who are both better human beings and better workers and contributors to society.

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