In addition to courses like Statistics, Economics 101 and Biology, my college freshman roster consisted of courses like The Arts of India, China and the Impact of the Cultural Revolution, a survey course of American Literature, African Dance and a creative writing class. I also continued with my violin instruction. My presence on this elite
New England campus was due in large part not only to the college’s financial aid, but also because of the financial contributions of my extended family. Back in those dinosaur years, a student’s selected courses as well as grades were sent directly to parents. When my mother shared my collegiate itinerary with my familial financial investors, many perceived my time spent in any artistic endeavor as an indulgence and a flagrant waste of their financial investment in me. The Arts did not matter.
But my mother, who had taken all of her children to countless music lessons, art classes, dance workshops, and poetry recitals, valued the Arts as a means for instilling strict discipline and for allowing a practitioner to venture on the road of self-discovery. The combination of these two qualities, she often said, equipped one to take on the world. She encouraged me to use the Arts as means of figuring out the world.
As I write this post on this Mother’s Day, my 15 year-old daughter- a musician, writer, dancer, painter-is channeling all of her artistic discipline to create an DNA model for a science class. It is the Arts that will aid all of us in moving our world forward. Albert Einstein, a trained violinist, said it best. “The greatest scientists are artists as well.”
You have to listen to Ken Robinson, an advisor on arts education, and his enchanting and humorous argument on why The Arts and creativity matter.