There is much to indicate that visual art, and the arts as a
whole, are vital to students' learning. Part of this resides
in the fact that art is so wide open in terms of
subjectivity. Its expansive nature and scope afford it an
opportunity for students' experiences and voices to be integrated
into the paradigm of learning. When other subjects are
constricted to a great extent by standards and standardized
approaches to learning, student voices can only be validated in
this context. Visual art is subjective and not standardized,
affording it a greater opportunity to pull more students into the
process of learning and appealing to those who might not find their
voice in other settings. For example, visual art construction
can help in understanding in spatial relationships, geometric
construction, and proportionality in a manner that might be more
appealing than the traditional mathematics based instruction of
such topics. As more schools begin to experience the pang of
losing art in the educational setting, it is dawning on many that
there is a significantly harmful element the loss of this
But most, if not all, of the benefits ascribed to visual arts
here could be derived from the study of music. Music can be
unstructured. Music has a lot to do with math, etc.
To me, the major benefit of visual art is that it provides the
benefits described above, but it does so without the need for much
in the way of equipment. At need, people can simply draw with
pencils -- there is no need for instruments as in music.
In addition, drawing is a very natural thing and is therefore
easier to do than music (with the exception of singing). A
person can draw things at a young age when they would have a much
harder time playing an instrument.
So, if visual arts are important, it is because they allow
people to be creative and spontaneous without the need for
equipment or long practice.