Proof that art is awesome (and good for you)
by Micah Minnema, SPNN Development Director
For folks like those of us at SPNN who provide opportunities for young people to experience the Arts, its long been a foregone conclusion that such efforts drastically impact the youth we work with, leading to such outcomes as higher test scores in school and increased leadership and communication skills. But, unfortunately, demonstrating this impact—in quantitative and qualitative terms—can be frustratingly difficult; almost as challenging as providing youth with the art activity in the first place. Thankfully, the National Endowment for the Arts just did us all a tremendous favor.
“The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies,” is a comprehensive look at the impact participating in art activities has on the scholastic development of low-income youth. Though the report contains striking data throughout, its central finding created the most headlines: “According to the data, 71 percent of [low-income students] with arts-rich experiences attended some sort of college after high school. Only 48 percent of the low-arts, [low-income students] attended any sort of college.”
Affixed with the stamp and seal of the National Endowment of the Arts, this study irrefutably links exposure to arts programming in high school to the likelihood of a young person attending college, thus demonstrating the importance of such arts activities as we offer youth here at SPNN. Thanks, NEA.