The Importance of Art Programs in Schools


girl protesting in favor of protecting the NEA

Debbie Lawhead, Creative Arts Editor

BCCHS’s Playpro performing Annie

Typically, you know a school for its sports programs, but what about the arts? They enhance our lives and give students opportunities in the performing arts field after high school. It’s common nowadays for schools to cut art programs due to a lack of funding as well as a stronger appeal to sports rather than art programs. A few art programs schools offer are Choir, Theater, Animation, Filmmaking, and Writing courses.

BCCHS’s spring play “Chorus Line” 2019.

In the past, the west coast was one of the highest in percent of students involved in visual arts or music classes, but recently it’s falling behind. A strong connection to this dates back to the 70s when Prop 13 came into play. Under this new law, the funding for arts was drastically hurt. Another impact on the arts was the growing importance of test scores in math and English. Due to the increase of interest in all the testing many arts and music classes were forced to take a back seat.

Most schools that maintain an art program do so through grants and parent donations. Schools often take the standardized test, which consists of English, math, and science, as their main focus. Without test based art programs, the classes get over-looked or knocked out in order to have more room for test subject classes. As of 2010, roughly 8,000 are without art or music programs. Additionally, 1.3 million elementary-age children don’t have access to music programs.



BCCHS’s 16 voices.

In a cut proposed by Trump, it includes a cut to the National Endowment of Arts (NEA). The California Arts Council director, Craig Watson, stated in response to the cut, “Our fear is that even a loss of modest funding will have a ripple effect through local neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods that are least able to afford those losses.”  Among the cuts in Trump’s proposal includes getting rid of the Institute for Museum and Library Science as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities, which helps provide funds for scholarly programs in California.

Many high school students are likely to be affected by the cuts. Arts affect a huge aspect of many people’s lives. For some, it’s a fun hobby that gives them relief from hard classes. For others, it’s a passion and motivation to do well in their

Cast of Annie after a performance for Lemay Elementary School.

academic class so they can stay in the art classes. Some teens have felt the struggle to fit in or find a place they feel they belong and in many cases, they found that place within the art programs.

Jasmine Santamaria (11) states “Honestly, Women’s choir has impacted my life in many ways because whenever I’ve had hard times in that class, I would just sing about it. I’d feel better  and it’s made me improve on my voice and as a person as well, people may say choir isn’t important or dislike it but for me, it is important just because I have happy moments because of it.” Another student, Yair Vasquez (11) said that being a part of PlayPro has given him a home and family as well as giving him a healthy way of coping with stress.