The American education system is known for producing the best and brightest minds in the world. Our curriculums push towards the study of math, science, technology, medicine and law in order to make a more perfect world. What is missing from this equation is an emphasis on arts. Arts and musical education is devalued and dismissed as a legitimate pathway to successful life or prosperous career.
Contrary to popular belief, nurturing the artistic talents in our youth has numerous benefits. According to DoSomething.org, "Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education. Much like expert technical skills, mastery in arts and humanities is closely correlated to high earnings."
This proves that society should not continue to trivialize this field of study. Nonetheless, young artists aren't waiting for their parents or communities to back their endeavors. Millennials are finding their own ways to exhibit their talents. In Washington DC, three area youths organized an event to show their neighborhood what budding artists are capable of creating.
A group of college-aged photographers transformed their passion into a successful arts showcase called the Makings of You. Daniel DIasgranados, Hunter Moore and David Linton came turned their idea for an art show into a reality. They pieced together an action plan that included budgeting, booking affordable venues, fundraising and promoting the event through social media.
Collectively, the artists sought to display the female form in a manner that challenged conventional standards of beauty. "The art featured ranged from standard portraits to conceptual art, but stayed within the mainstay of female beauty and how we perceived it," said DIasgranados. Uniquely, he used an older camera to capture realistic images of women to challenge what society traditionally views as aesthetically beautiful. Purposefully, none of the exhibited photos were edited using conventional mediums like Photoshop or airbrushing. These raw and uncut photographs questioned idealistic pressures women are subjected to on a daily basis.
The exhibition was held at the Emergence Community Art Collective (ECAC) -- a community structure designed "to empower the human spirit through social activities, traditional arts classes, support groups and educational seminars." These structures ensure that artists are provided an environment to thrive and hone their craft. If not for the Washington, DC metropolitan area's support of these youth, the Makings of You would not have been a success. Moore asserts, "When young people are given such an environment to be in, especially one that thrives on art, they should take full advantage of it, and should be given every opportunity."
His words are illustrative of a need for change in the way art is view in mainstream society. It is of the greatest importance that we build community and academic spaces to develop creative young minds. We can disregard the need arts education for or choose to pave the way for the next Rembrandt, Waring, Picasso, Michelangelo, Warhol, or Basquiat.