Story Submitted by Noa Friedman

Time and time again, educators and artists are burdened with the task of fighting for funding for arts in schools because for some reason, cutting arts funding is the “go to solution” for the “how can we save money?” problem. The decision makers figure that an education in the arts is dispensable, even though endless amounts of studies can prove that opinion otherwise. Why is the funding for the arts considered superfluous and so often the first thing to be cut when its impact has been proven to be essential?
I attended Howard W. Blake School of the Arts where I majored in theatre. Now, even as a junior in college, I often reflect back on my time in high school with such fondness. Not because of any of the science or math classes I took, but because of the time I spent in the theatre department. These were critical years for me. These were the years that made me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts and landed me at the University of Florida studying towards a BFA in acting.
The value of an Arts education expands far beyond the stage as well. Exposure to the arts enhances a person’s abilities in all other subjects. It teaches a person confidence and teamwork. It reflects positively in a student’s performance in their math and English classes, leading to them becoming a more successful and well-rounded human being . I firmly believe that would not have graduated as Valedictorian of my high school class had it not been for my exposure to the arts. Without a doubt, my work ethic and intelligence have been shaped by the skills I learned as a right-brained thinker.
I love the arts. My life IS the arts, and as cliché as it may sound, the access that I was given to the arts in my formative schooling years have shaped the person I am today. Why strip that kind of opportunity from future classes of students?
The arts in schools are essential. To deny that fact would be doing a disservice to yourself, your community, and generations of students to come.
The arts give us so much. Please return the favor.