When we study great past civilizations, what do we revere about their culture? Not their military conquests. Their glamour quickly is reduced to dry footnotes and maybe a movie script. It’s through the arts — music, painting, sculpture, dance, architecture and crafts — that we achieve the nearest thing to immortality.
So why are so many public schools bereft of art instructors? Why has attention to the arts largely withered away in recent years? Are they frivolous and shallow? Just the opposite. Let’s just say they didn’t fit in with the emphasis established by the late chancellors Klein, Black (don’t forget the middle fare in the sandwich) and Walcott. They had other educational “priorities” often adrift of education itself.
Chancellor Fari–a recently increased the funding for arts facilities and materials by a couple dozen million dollars. That’s still paltry but it’s a windfall after the dry spell of neglect.
The arts are an indispensable part of the “major subject” of civilization itself.