A lot of people say that science and math are more important than art, or reject the idea that the arts matter to the same degree. This mindset is the reason that art and music programs are often targeted when it is time to make budget cuts.
People have said that they need math to do taxes, science for the sake of modern medicine, and engineering so that we may continue on our path in technological innovation. But they scoff at the idea that art education matters, saying they don’t need to listen to Mozart or learn to paint sunsets to care for their families.
And this is true. No one would deny the importance of STEM. These fields are the reason we can work toward our best quality of life. And it’s true that a parent doesn’t need to write poetry or play or an instrument or read classic novels to provide for their family.
However, at the end of the day, money and material possessions can only provide so much. No matter how much money a parent makes, there will be days where their child feels alone, scared, isolated, misunderstood, grief stricken, or hopeless.
There are so many people who have felt these things, only to be pulled out of a dark place through a song, or a book, or through painting or writing stories. Many people understand what it means for a song to be the only fucking reason they didn’t give up when they felt sad and alone.
Creativity is in our DNA. Even before human beings had access to advanced medicine or indoor plumbling, they were drawing pictures on the walls of caves and telling stories around campfires.
Perhaps it is not as stable to pursue the arts as it is to study medicine or accounting. People have said, why study literature when I can read books in my spare time?
To this, I would say, believe what you want about the arts. But don’t look down on those of use who value and need the arts to survive. (Actually, keep looking down. We’ll be too busy looking up at the stars, being inspired not just to exist, but to live).
Doctors have saved my life. But so have musicians, writers, filmmakers, and painters. And if it weren’t for people who devoted their entire lives to creating great art, music, and literature, the world would be a pretty dull, and less innovative place to live.