Luce President Mariko Silver Affirms the Value of an Arts Education

May 3, 2023
Luce President Mariko Silver Affirms the Value of an Arts Education
Exhibition view of James Turrell’s Into the Light at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, 2018. Photo courtesy of MASS MoCA.

Luce President and CEO Mariko Silver discusses the necessity of an arts education in the 21st century with the New York Times' Ginanne Brownell. 

While studies over the years have underscored the ways that arts education can lead to better student achievement — in the way that musical skills support literacy, say, and arts activities lead to improved vocabulary, what have traditionally been lacking are large-scale randomized control studies. But a recent research project done in 42 elementary and middle schools in Houston, which was co-directed by Dr. Kisida and Daniel H. Bowen, a professor who teaches education policy at Texas A&M, is the first of its kind to do just that. Their research found that students who had increased arts education experiences saw improvements in writing achievement, emotional and cognitive empathy, school engagement and higher education aspirations, while they had a lower incidence of disciplinary infractions.

As young people are now, more than ever, inundated with images on social media and businesses are increasingly using A.I., it has become even more relevant for students these days to learn how to think more critically and creatively. “Because what is required of us in this coming century is an imaginative capacity that goes far beyond what we have deliberately cultivated in the schooling environment over the last 25 years,” said Mariko Silver, the chief executive of the Henry Luce Foundation, “and that requires truly deep arts education for everyone.”

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