Move over, math and science. It’s time to make room for art.
Employers and government alike have long advocated math and science as the primary subject areas for those who want to excel in today’s knowledge-based careers. But now art is earning its rightful place alongside its more popular and heavily promoted sister subjects. And its biggest support is coming from employers.
But the value for employers isn’t in the actual learning of how to play an instrument, draw the human figure or compose poetry. The real benefit from employers’ standpoint is the skill set that seems to come primarily from studying the arts.
According to Fred Behning, an IBM retiree who has a music background, “The fine arts carry additional developmental benefits. Whether it’s music or dance notation, sculpture or painting, or translation of written word to emotion and action, all fine arts experience is built on conversion of the abstract into reality. This is Creativity 101 as taught in no other academic setting.
“The positive correlation between possessing an arts education and achievement in the workplace isn’t proven conclusively, but there’s mounting data to suggest it” (Behning, 2007).
Some of that data comes from employer survey results. In a report published by The Conference Board, an organization that researches marketplace and business issues, 97% of employers considered creativity to be “of increasing importance in the workplace,” while “85% of employers seeking creative employees said they were having difficulty finding qualified applicants with the right characteristics” (Lichtenberg, 2008).
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