Arts Education Transforms Societies

President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, Robert L. Lynch provides research data on important outcomes of arts education.

By Jenny Clarke

Robert L. Lynch’s October 2014 article “Arts Education Transforms Societies” provides new data on the powerful “trickle-up” effect of arts education on a modern innovative workforce. According to Lynch, recent research by Americans for the Arts shows that the impact of arts education lies far beyond the accepted notion that the arts are an important part of education.

Lynch’s article examines impact on employment data, graduation rates, drop-out rates, and more.  According to Lynch, arts education increases employment rates by raising high-school graduation rates. Last year, high school graduates had a 3.5 percent lower unemployment rate than those without diplomas. And when exposed to arts education, students of all backgrounds are more likely to graduate. Americans for the Arts’ research shows that low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely to graduate from college as their peers with no arts education. Additionally, low-income students with a high participation in the arts have a dropout rate of 4 percent, in contrast to their peers with a low participation in the arts who have a dropout rate of 22 percent.

Students with exposure to arts education are also more prepared for the jobs of today and those of the future.  Americans for the Arts and the Conference Board’s joint “Ready to Innovate” report shows that 72 percent of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they look for when hiring, and a subsequent report credits arts education as key to a student gaining that creativity.

Lynch closes by saying that “it’s an issue not just for parents, but for all of us: to ensure a flexible, innovative and employable workforce, we need creative, curious citizens who have been educated in the arts.”

The article is filled with vital data that can be utilized for advocacy and funding for arts education field-wide. Read the full article in the Huffington Post here.

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