Why the Arts are so important in the 21st Century

With our school’s Showcase exhibition (click here for the invitation) fast approaching, Principal Mrs Maryanne Davis looks at the importance of the arts in children’s personal, social and academic growth.

showcase image blog

Currently much debate in the educational community centres around maths, science, literacy and skills linked to the entrepreneurial environment. These subjects are deemed to have greater currency in a competitive global economy.

This view stands, even though it is generally accepted that the creative arts encourage the development of creativity, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, motivation and self-confidence… skills seen as essential for the 21st Century work environment.

Research across a number of years, countries and education systems supports the belief that playing an instrument benefits creativity, spatial-temporal ability, IQ scores, and reading and language. Some studies also suggest that it can improve self concept, self-efficacy, motivation and behaviour in secondary school children.

Recently, research was undertaken in this area by Prof Michael Anderson and his colleagues at the University of Sydney. They examined students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and considered their academic and personal wellbeing outcomes over two years.

The research found that students who engaged with the arts in schools as active participants – as makers and doers of the arts – were more likely improve their outcomes in academic and social spheres than those who passively consumed the arts.

So, being able to express your individuality through the arts can develop your sense of identity and through this, your self-esteem.

Engagement with the arts also allows students to appreciate and understand the different cultures and values of our very diverse society. It has been said that the arts “become the shared link, the glue that shapes our understanding of how we see ourselves and each other”.

The educational space occupied by the creative and performing arts has the potential to inspire in our students innovative ways of thinking that can then be expressed creatively. These creations reflect imagination and endless possibilities for the future.

At Danebank our hope is based in Christ and this hope is expressed in a desire to change the world for the better. The very tools of the creative and performing arts are a vital element in equipping our students to be change agents that serve others.

Sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz said: “Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence… Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.” (Cited in Smith, F., 2009)

While on the topic of art, please support two of our alumnae, Jamie Parmaxidis and Meg Butler, whose exhibition “Global Suburbia” is opening at the Hurstville Museum and Gallery this weekend. See below for details.


Mrs Maryanne Davis, Principal


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