Steamed Over Arts Education

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I’ve been advocating arts education for some time, now, having lobbied for a State –wide public schools arts ed program and awarding more Families & Education Levy funds to arts education providers.

That’s why today’s Seattle Times guest editorial by Edward D. Lazowska on STEM –  science + technology + engineering + mathematics – caught my attention. Mr. Lasowska is chair of UW’s computer science and engineering program. He argues the importance of computer sciences for our state economy.

I agree, but I believe just as important is innovative thinking and creativity within the sciences. Without it, science is merely an exercise. How do we infuse creativity with science? Arts education. It is time for STEM to evolve into STEAM: science + technology + arts + engineering + mathematics.

idea_bulbSarah Pease edited a compelling edition of ARCADE magazine recently, in which she observed that we are trained at a young age to separate art from the core subjects of our studies, rendering it unimportant in the shadows of science and math. She and other contributors argue that the areas of art and science are more closely related than not, that their overlap is more relevant now than ever.

ARCADE contributor John Maeda wrote that when he was young his teachers praised him for being good at math and art. But, his father would tell people “John is good at math.” Maeda felt he had to choose between the two. He chose the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

After many years there, he saw technology succeeding in making everything cheaper, faster and smaller—but failing to make things emotionally rich. He became convinced something else was needed to inspire true innovation – design and art. It was that realization that propelled him from MIT to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he is now president.

Check out his related TED Talk from June of last year.

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