Each year, thousands of students from the New York Metropolitan area visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students can learn about different influential artists, art styles, and historical events at the museum through the Met’s many exhibits and events. Frederica “Freddi” Wald, Head of Membership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has spent nearly ten years in the arts and culture field and recognizes the importance of arts in education. Today, Freddi Wald will discuss the many benefits of arts in American education and why schools should encourage annual museum field trips.
Improve Empathy and Cultural Understanding
One of the most critical aspects of child development is empathy. Empathy is not a given trait and must be developed and nurtured by parents and educators. Visiting museums can help students develop empathy and understanding of other cultures through visual pieces. Art can be an amazing tool to learn about different cultures as a culture without art is impossible. In 2003, art teacher Lauren Christine Phillips began a new teaching model designed to teach empathy through art to her 900 students. Mrs. Phillips found this method effective and believes that art can greatly improve students’ empathy through the artistic process, imagination, and human connection.
Help Increase Comprehension of Other Subjects
Art has always been a response to the world around us and can relate to varying topics and educational subjects. Art can provide different visual contexts and alternative viewpoints on historical periods, important literature, as well as topics of gender. Students studying physics and engineering can view drawings and blueprints made by past inventors and learn more about scientific principles. Additionally, a recent report by Americans for the Arts concluded that students who participate in the arts for three hours a day, three days a week, are more than four times as likely to achieve academic excellence. Whether it be entering a science fair, writing an award-winning essay, or taking a more advanced math class, participation in the arts has been shown to directly impact students’ involvement in their education.
Encourage Critical Thinking Skills
Students who frequently visit museums can improve their critical thinking faculties by reviewing artistic styles, discerning subjects, and recognizing different art techniques. Educators can help build this skill by creating assignments that require critical thinking during their museum visit or encouraging discussions between the students regarding different artistic themes.