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Why are the arts important to humans today? Art is important to us humans because of the colors, and the output of the typical art in the world.

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Here is an interesting take on the importance of art and other non-specialized, non-technical education by the author of Brave New World, who was greatly concerned about the direction humanity was taking:

Ours is a world in which knowledge accumulates and wisdom decays. Inevitably so; for advancing science and technology require the services of specialists, to each of whom is assigned the job (and it is a whole-time, a more than whole-time job) of mastering the intricacies of his particular field and keeping up with the changes in theory and practice brought about by scientific discovery and technical invention. That such specialists may and often do become highly trained barbarians has been, for some years past, the growing concern of educators.

                    Aldous Huxley, “Censorship and Spoken Literature”

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Leo Tolstoy in What Is Art? defines art as follows:

To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling--this is the activity of art.

Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feeliings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.

And if men lacked this other capacity of being infected by art, people might be almost more savage still, and, above all, more separated from, and more hostile to, one another.

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As an educator, I see the Arts as a supreme way for students to express themselves, be creative, relieve stress and just enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, in the current economic times, these are the first programs to be cut. My school has one art teacher and one music teacher. It is a shame when you see how much talent there is that remains untapped due to lack of funding and opportunity. I don't know who decides that only math and english and science are important, because I think kids need a chance to shine in other ways. Acting classes can be therapeutic and music and art can transform the mundane into the magical!

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For me, the Arts are about celebrating and remembering the diversity of human expression, and in addition to this, the universality of human expression. It is amazing how the arts can unite people across the globe, no matter where they are from, because they transcend cultural differences and capture something of what it means to be uniquely human. This is definitely one major reason for the preservation of the Arts.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The arts are an opportunity to express what we think, what we feel, what we love or hate, what we hope, what we want to change, what we want from the future and admire from the past, and whatever else might move us.  It's part of humanity to want and need to express those things.  Not having the arts is like living in a black and white world when color is an option.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What a great question.  More and more schools are asking this question and pointing to arts programs for "simple" budget cuts in order to spread the budget around.  The arts are incredibly important for all students and humans.

First, arts include all sort of creative expression.  Without a creative outlet, humans become resentful and irritable.  Painting, sculpting, building, singing, dancing, writing, and creating are all valid expressions of thought.  Just as a journal/diary can help a person organize thoughts through a tough time in his or her life, so can building a treehouse, writing or singing a song or painting a portrait.

Second, arts of all kinds provide beauty in our world.  Without beauty, there is no pleasure.  Without pleasure, there is only discontent and anger.  People need beautiful things to look at, experience, and enjoy.  True, not everyone see the beauty in a piece of modern art or a mural in an inner-city park, but the beauty is there for the creator and his/her audience.

Third, without arts programs in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, how will students discover these talents?  Many students don't find their niche or the thing they are best at in life unless given the opportunity to explore with paint or other medium in art class, or wood and metal in shop, or material and thread or food in Home Ec.  We need artists in our world, and they need to know their talents.

Fourth, the arts encourage problem solving.  How many times have you had a project in mind and ran into an issue that had to be solved before the final product could come from it?  Change the medium, or the type of paint or glue, use a different kind of material, or some other issue.  It's great for brain development!

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playsthething eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The arts, both performing and visual, are part of our humanity.  They are what make us a human.  Different from the sciences, which are predictable and governed by laws of nature, the arts provide us a variety of ways to express ourselves.  We can express our feelings and our opinions through the various arts. 

The arts can be seen as a reflection of their society, rather than driven by their society.  This is a major reason why we study the history of the arts.  It's an excellent way to understand the time period, by seeing what the artists were expressing.  For example, when you look at the 19th century, it's easier to understand the time period when you consider the Romantics' rebellion against Neoclassicism and the Academy.  Many times in history, the arts have been used to express ideas that were not acceptable in their society.  Playwrights across time have used their art to criticize their world - Garcia Lorca, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Miller, to name just a few.

Also, the arts provide us with aesthetic qualities.  Imagine how gray our world would be if not for the beauty of a Monet painting, a Beethoven symphony, an August Wilson play.  Taking time to appreciate this beauty is what makes us human, and that's a very important quality to hang on to, especially in these days of budget cuts and technological innovation.

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Les beaux arts,the fine arts, are important to people today for the same reason that they have always been essential for any civilization:  They are the food for the soul.  In a visit to the United States not too many years ago, the Dali Lama said that he is very worried about countries in which materialism is taking over the culture.  "How can a material thing which is not spiritual make a human being who is spiritual happy?" he queried.  The explanation for the dissatisfaction of many in America's society is because they turn to material goods, rather than spirtitual ones, for happiness.

Clearly, there is no joy that can compare to that of the enjoyment of good music, art, drama and other literature.  Afterall, these are the recordings of the human experience and all who view them or participate in them share this experience.  How reassuring and validating it is to read the recordings of one human soul and recognize in this writing the same emotion or idea that one has also felt!  The fine arts are people's connections to the past and to their own humanity.  As Joseph Conrad wrote, "Meaning depends upon sharing," and communion with others and self-expression through the fine arts is truly what gives people meaning and spiritual nourishment in their lives.

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thewanderlust878 | Student

Great question! The arts, in any form, have been important to humans for thousands of years. They have allowed us to discover new things about past civilizations; to see how they lived, and to learn from their successes and mistakes. I believe that this could definitely be a reason as to why the arts are important to humans today. It will allow us to leave a footprint for future civilizations to discover and learn from our mistakes. 

Hope this helps!

udonbutterfly | Student

Painting has allowed humans through out the ages to express themselves and convey emotions to others. It really is a great medium for those who find it difficult to articulate themselves in the manner the wish to convey. I once had a friend who told me art said things for him what he couldn't express in words.

atyourservice | Student

Being a person who loves painting and drawing, art to me is a way of expressing myself. It helps me bring out my imagination, and it is a way of me to stop boredom and calm myself.

arrellbelle | Student

Art is important for a variety of reasons and those reasons depend entirely upon those who are interested in arts. for example, the arts is important to different cultures because they help document the traditions, customs, and people pertaining to that culture. For myself, art is important because it has helped me through the very difficult times in my life. Art for others, helps to inspire others.

hannaberry | Student

“People have inborn ways of seeing in which visual stimuli, including art, are initially organized and perceived.” According to Solso (p.13), “Art is, after all, physical material that affects a physical eye and conscious brain. “Art is a perception consciously experienced and defined by human beings as aesthetic. (p.15)” According to Solo, “Our understanding of the cognitive neuroscience of perception does not destroy art. (p.19)” In order to grasp the entire concept of art, we will have to look and think of us in an intelligent way. Art is a language, and when a person looks at art he or she has conscious thoughts that combine their attention and relate to previous experiences. As humans, we are constantly searching for a need to gain knowledge and problem solve. Art is a way to help humans make sense of the world and its surroundings. According to Solso, “Within a person’s lifetime the brain records instances and knowledge of past action and their consequences. Those neural patterns and models of problem-solving that were successful were passed on, which unsuccessful mutations of cerebral mechanisms died out.” For example, when a student is giving a problem solving situation, the student will define and classify the problem, make connections, and analyze information objectively.

thelovelydominiquep | Student

the arts are a way of expressing ones feelings or opions. for example rappers express the way they feel about love in a song...poets express it by a poem...and artist draw a heart or a vlack spce or something ...get it?

lil-girl23 | Student
Art is around us everyday. We may not realise it until we need stop and think about it. Arts from the past express the artists emotions and thoughts and may relate to their time period. Which is why we still study artworks from very old artists. Because they may either make a point or comment on the world or deeply express their emotions.
highlandtechgirl101 | Student

I think the arts are important to our culture. We want others to learn more about us right? The arts are important too.

missesboman | Student

Because it makes kids who are better in the arts than in the classroom feel good about themselves and they tend to turn their positive energy from that into the classroom

  I would add to this that the arts allow for a sense of belonging for many kids that they wouldn't otherwise have.  Artists tend to be (but are not always) very inclusive; people who are a little unusual are more accepted.

carebr2 | Student

Because it makes kids who are better in the arts than in the classroom feel good about themselves and they tend to turn their positive energy from that into the classroom