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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bob Lynch, American for the Arts on Education

From kindergarten to community college, art education budgets are being slashed to the bone. And we’re all going to pay the price.

Monterey County Weekly (local news periodical)

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011 | (Link to story)

Excerpt from this article:

“We’re losing more than just art teachers in school. If we continue down this road, killing off arts education, America 20 years from now will be a very dull, ugly place, with fewer painters and musicians. It will also be significantly poorer. We’ll lose our innovative engineers and creative business minds,” says Bob Lynch (no relation to Paulette), president of Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit that lobbies for arts funding at the local and federal levels.

“We don’t in America understand the full value of the arts and what the arts actually bring to our society,” he says. “We take for granted and have kept too much a secret the broad values beyond entertainment and beyond decoration that the arts bring – better communities, better community development, helping people be more creative in their work.”

Not only do we end up losing something that brings beauty and enjoyment and maybe some spiritual uplift – we also face the loss of an economic engine that contributes to the creation of some 750,000 businesses and 5.7 million jobs in America.

“We haven’t paid enough attention to the role the arts have played throughout our history,” Bob Lynch adds.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington commissioned plays to inspire soldiers before they fought battles. Abraham Lincoln insisted the Capitol dome be finished – and funded – in the middle of the Civil War.

Much more recently, a new study by IBM found creativity is the most important quality for success in business leadership. The largest-known sample of one-on-one CEO interviews included more than 1,500 corporate heads and public sector leaders in 60 nations and 33 industries.

Even more important than integrity and global thinking in the business world, according to the CEOs, is creativity.

“American companies are worried about competitors like China and India,” Bob Lynch says. “But because of their sheer size, China and India are going to be able to turn out more of everything, and their people will work for less money. So what is our competitive edge? Creativity. And arts is the thing that brings creativity.

“Businesses say they want it, presidents and generals have employed the arts in their work – and still do today – and yet when it comes time to pay for it, is so easily allowed to slip away.” He adds that part of the price is our businesses will be less creative and our children less employable. “If we lose the arts, and arts education, we have destinations that are not as interesting to visit because arts are great tourist attractions,” he says. “We essentially have a nation that is not able to live up to the potential that it was built upon: its creativity, its innovation, its ability to change on a dime.”

Submitted by

Dana Smith
Dean, Arts & Letters

Oceanside Campus
1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056
P 760.795.6818
F 760.795.6804

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