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THE DISH F RENCH F RIES
Service Station By K e n d a ll
Bro w n
POP Edit or
Arts essential in education By Kendall Brown POP Editor
his past Friday children of all ages descended upon the Second Friday Circuit of Art, but this time, they weren’t just observing. Thanks to the Firehouse Art Center’s Children’s Show, they were featured artists, and you could see the incredible pride shining in their eyes as they took in their artwork prominently displayed on the gallery walls. As I toured the galleries that evening, I made sure to take extra time at the Firehouse, talking to the kids about their work and how they felt about being official artists. As I saw firsthand during my time working as the director of an art therapy camp in Kenya, art has the power to literally change children’s lives. It was obvious as I spoke to the young Firehouse artists that such was the case for them. But what are the exact benefits of art in education? The first, and perhaps the only, benefit that many know of is that it statistically increases children’s math and science scores. While this is true, and is of course a very important marker of the importance of arts education, to only mention this one reason is dangerous. As budgets are slashed, school administrators may start to ask themselves, ‘Even if the arts increase science scores, doesn’t simply more science increase science scores? And wouldn’t that be cheaper?’ So while we must emphasize the academic advantages to a system that includes creativity, it’s important that we remember the remaining benefits of arts education, or the arts may disappear forever from our education system. Increased Self Esteem/Social Skills: Children that are exposed early and often to arts education are usually better at expressing their emotions, which leads to better emotionally adjusted students and, ultimately, higher self esteem. Their increased ability to communicate also leads to better social interactions across the board, which is a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Community Involvement: The arts are often intricately linked with activism with the community and raising awareness for social issues. By
Friday, Aug. 19, 2011
involving children in the arts, we are increasing their awareness of the community that they exist in (both locally and internationally) and providing them both with the motivation to and the knowledge necessary to get involved and make a difference. Higher Cognitive Abilities: Providing children with arts education will equip them with the creativity, the intuitiveness and the problem-solving skills necessary to succeed not only in school but also within the job market. Arts education does not just produce better, more creative artists. It produces better, more creative engineers, doctors and teachers. Motivation to Succeed: Often in education, children can get lost in the standardized testing world of black and white, true and false. Arts education teaches them to take risks, to try new things and to see a task through to completion. It has been consistently proven that arts education helps improve retention rates, ensuring that we not only produce well-rounded students, but more of them as well. We are fortunate to live within a community that has such a strong program as the Firehouse Arts Center. The Firehouse saw a need for more and better arts education in Norman, and they have responded admirably. For this new school year, they are providing 100% of the arts education for two Norman elementary schools and are assisting the programs at several others. They also offer multiple classes at their location, and do have scholarships available for lower-income families. But it isn’t enough. The Firehouse cannot be expected to be the sole champion of arts education in Norman. As a community, we need to come together and recognize the importance of arts education for our children and begin to support it. Whether this means coming out to support the young artists at shows like the Firehouse just had, donating money or supplies to a local arts program or calling your local representative to demand they support their arts is up to each of us to decide. If we’re going to claim we educate within a system where ‘no child is left behind’ then we must live up to that claim. Without arts education, that will never be the case.
Mary Landsden Swafford nominated the Service Station this week as her favorite place to get french fries in Norman. K n o w n around the restaurant as “dip sticks” these handcut french fries cost $2.29 for a half order and $3.59 for a full order. The delicious fries also come as a side item for many of the Service Station’s entrees. The Dish is a weekly feature dedicated to reader suggestions on Norman’s culinary highlights. Next week’s category: Onion Rings — who makes your favorite? To nominate, email email@example.com.
DIY DELICACIES Spaghetti Salad Ingredients 1 pound cooked spaghetti 1 onion, chopped 6 green onions, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped 1 each, red, green, yellow pepper, chopped Bottle of Salad Supreme Large bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing Directions Refrigerate spaghetti over night. Mix all other ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Mix vegetables and dressing with spaghetti. Serve cold. This weeks D.I.Y. Delicacy is submitted by Peggy Lazaiure. Have a DIY recipe for a beverage or side you want featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org