Arts education inspires tomorrow’s workforce

Laurette GarnerLaurette Garner
Community Arts Coordinator
City of Carlsbad

As our society transitions from an instructional informational style of learning to one centered in collaboration and critical and creative thinking with increasing access to information online, businesses and corporations are looking to different measurements for a diversifying workforce. Since memorizing or reiterating information isn’t viewed as it was in the past, a shift has occurred in knowing how to solve problems by thinking broadly and deeply using reason, logic, resourcefulness, imagination and innovation. These are the traits of today’s highly valued employee.

Art class

For local students, access to arts education creates equity in the classroom, builds creativity, develops critical thought and provides an alternative way to express thoughts and feelings that are important to them.

For local students, access to arts education creates equity in the classroom, builds creativity, develops critical thought and provides an alternative way to express thoughts and feelings that are important to them. National studies have shown that the arts keep students in school and increase graduation rates while also inspiring them to explore career opportunities. Arts education develops the tools one needs for a future society and teaches what many in the workplace are calling “soft skills” such as interpersonal communication, time management, listening and empathy.

Given that context, consider arts education as an essential key to preparing tomorrow’s workforce. The city’s Cultural Arts staff is inspired by two fundamental premises that drive their planning and instructional efforts. First, the arts are an essential part of daily life. Second, everyone should have access to arts education experiences throughout their life. In other words, whether you are eight or 80, arts experiences bring value and foster lifelong learning. Americans for the Arts envisions a country where everyone has access to—and takes part in—high quality and lifelong learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community.

To cultivate new skills and emphasize creative thought, Cultural Arts focuses on research from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, by utilizing The Artful Thinking Program and the Eight Studio Habits of Mind. This approach is core to the Three-Part Art at the Cannon Art Gallery with a gallery tour, live arts instruction sessions and art kits, as well as for the California History and Art program in partnership with the city’s Parks & Recreation Department at the Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch. In the midst of this pandemic, we launched virtual alternatives with At-Home Art Projects designed to create art in the home, Female Artist Lessons to honor 2020 as the year of the woman and the recent Black History Month Art Projects.

These important beliefs are present in the city’s Arts & Culture Master Plan, a roadmap for this decade with its emphasis on lifelong learning. Cultural Arts staff are exploring ways to encourage community learning that reaches all parts of Carlsbad. As we look to the Spring, check out the Cannon Art Gallery’s next exhibit, Material Pulses, showcasing the art of quilt-making.  The next Family Open Studios encourages all ages to create art together and will be presented in a virtual version on Saturday, May 8 as a live art event with free art kits to complete a collaborative art project at home. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore your inner artist!

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