I am certain there are more answers than one can conceive, and much has been written about this question, which seems to be as big as the infamous daunting one, ”What is art?”  But the question that truly interests me is, “Why teach art in the 21st century?” Why teach art in an age in which so little importance is given to the subject in a school curriculum? The answer is so simple that it is almost absurd.

We live in a global economy, in an age in which infrastructure is the key word to explain economic dynamism, and mobility is the requirement that insures one is ahead of the game. In a post-modern world there is an increasing demand for creativity, seen as the competitive key to innovative ideas and the continuous development of the marketplace. The search is constantly scrutinizing candidates who are attentive, problem solver, and who can make decisions without hesitation.

Those three elements are the answer to my question. To teach art first means to learn about art, and then to make art. Learning art requires attention, and develops the analytical skill to dissect and interpret a situation (a work of art) by focusing on each component and being alert of unexpected paradigms. Art students not only make works of art, they also make decisions, and must take full responsibility for choices that are wholly theirs.  They learn the skills to address unknown situations and all issues that rise from it; whether it is a technical problem, a conceptual issue or an unforeseen logistic wrinkle.

We teach art in the 21st century because the 21st century needs creative minds that can face the complexities of a multilayered reality, offer solutions, and follow through their completion and successful outcomes. Art teaches abstract principles that fully prepare the young mind for adult life. Once acquired, they can be applied to any subject and any aspect of life.
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