There is an island of trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, an actual island. This is a new problem in the world. The world is filled with new problems. They are everywhere. Who is going to solve these problems? I believe that the student who truly has the creative mind will.
What builds the creative mind? It is my opinion that arts education is absolutely vital to the building of the creative mind. Arts education is more than teaching someone what the particular art that they are studying is like. It is more than making them into a lifetime arts patron. It teaches the student how to build the creative mind that is able to create solutions for problems that did not exist before. Creating art out of nothing ends in a student studying medicine believing they have the creativity to find a cure. It ends in someone starting a business that did not exist before. It helps a student to gather a vision for jobs in an age where technology is taking them away.
The creative class is forming and corporations are calling to schools globally to produce minds with visions on how to navigate the exponentially growing world. Will schools answer the call? Schools must see that when arts education is done properly, it changes the way the student tackles science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The greatest minds in each part of STEM remind me of the artistic mind. They forge new pathways, and they create things that did not exist before. They see the world as a canvas.
I think arts education is the answer to teaching a student to go into careers knowing they have the mindset to create solutions to problems everywhere.
I have spent 18 years teaching youth theatre to K-12th graders everyday from all over the greater Indianapolis area. I have promised myself that I would always have the mind of an educator finding ways to educate the everyday student through theatre. As I have grown as a teacher I have found myself innovating towards an understanding that the key to arts education is what I find the key to be in teaching any subject. The arts are a perfect place for this and this is to teach the student to be a lifelong learner. The lifelong learner finds themselves as part of the creative class, molding the world into what it can be, not living with what it already is.
About the Author
Justin Wade has served as the Executive Artistic Director of Young Actors Theatre in downtown Indianapolis since 2005. Justin has produced over 400 youth productions featuring K-12th graders. Justin designed and created all of YAT’s present programming. Justin considers himself an educator first and foremost and has spent over 10,000 hours in the classroom teaching and learning theatre education.