What is the Real Value of Art Education?

By Paula Briggs, AccessArt

For years AccessArt has been promoting and enabling visual arts education: creating and sharing resources to inspire, helping to develop practice, and celebrating the practitioners themselves.

We (you) believe in the experience of making art. Manipulating the materials of the world is fundamentally A GOOD THING. Being creative is a positive act – an act of “putting out there”, of belief, of confidence. Creators are contributors. Creative people excite and feed other people. Creative people reflect and create diversity and richness. They help build a sense of identity and a lasting legacy. The experience of being creative gives a sense of wellbeing…

We (you) understand the intrinsic value of art education. We trust it, celebrate it and push for it. And it all begins with a spark between eye, brain and hand… a piece of cardboard being manipulated… a mark on a piece of paper… a small idea “not talked out of existence…”

The recently published Warwick Report (Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth) illustrates another very real value of the visual arts, and gives all those who instinctively understand the value of art education, the evidence and confidence to shout even louder. And we do need to keep shouting louder: just like creativity itself, visual arts education is a fragile entity which can so easily be stopped in its tracks.

Please share and use the ideas and evidence below to raise your voice, to demonstrate the value of art education, and to demand of parents, teachers, schools and politicians that we create the time, space and investment which visual art education deserves.

“There is a perception [amongst parents and teachers] that creative subjects don’t deliver careers. The evidence is that they do.”

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

The Gross Value Added (GVA) of the sector was estimated by DCMS at a global £76.9bn in 2013, representing 5.0% of the UK economy (thats £8.8 million an hour).

The Value of the UK Creative Industries

The Cultural and Creative Industries are the fastest growing industry in the UK.

2.62 million people work in the creative industries in the UK. (That’s 1 in 12 people in the UK).

Jobs in the UK Creative Industries

UK creative industries exports increased by 11.3 % in 2012 on the previous year

UK Creative Industries Exports

The pipeline to the creative industries begins at preschool, continues through primary school, through to secondary school and into HE and FE. At each of these stages, and every time we fail to provide an opportunity for children and young people to explore their relationship with the world through making and drawing, we weaken this pipeline, and potentially prevent the next generation of creative individuals from helping build the creative industries of the future.

"In a world where goods can be made anywhere, innovation is increasingly important. The creative industries on their own are the UK's second biggest business sector. Maintenance / supply of this workforce is central to the ongoing success of the UK creative industries, now one of our biggest business sectors”

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

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3 Key Questions

As parents, let’s ask:

“What has my child made with their hands at school this week?”

As teachers, let’s explore:

“How can we ensure the learning opportunities we offer pupils, do justice to the employment opportunities of the future?”

As creative adults, let’s think:

“How can I share my skills and inspire the next generation?”

Please leave your comments and ideas below

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