Art is essential. It is not just the icing on the cake, nor the cake. It is the meal. Art is what nourishes the soul. It is not just the design of the flag, nor the colors in the flag. It is the flag. Art is the fiber of existence. Evidence of a culture that flourished. It is not just the nice picture in the museum, nor the technique used on the canvas. Art is the story behind the canvas and the voice that must be not be silenced. Art is not just the crunched up paper held with a magnet on your refrigerator, nor the after school program where the picture was made. Art is what made the child want to go to school in the first place. Art is not just the mural on the public building, nor transformation of the area. Art is what happened while it was being painted--the people who came together to make something important.
Art gives meaning. Art connects children to ideas, to diversity, to higher-order thinking, creative problem-solving, to the practical application of math, science, history, social studies and languages.
Art is not an extra or a specialty. It is not expendable. You don’t have to understand, agree with or like all art. But if you take art away because of a misunderstanding that it doesn’t really matter that much, you are not cutting a budget, you are severing a lifeline. Not just for some, but for all.