03/25/2014 11:39 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Arts Brings Joy to Learning

With all the complicated metrics and assessments that make up education these days, what is often lost are basic fundamentals, like joy.

Why not just rigorously enforce the principles of math and science, hammer home equations and facts repetitively until a child can regurgitate them in their sleep?

Because rote memorization and the application of knowledge through testing denies the human instinct for pleasure. With joy comes desire, and why not allow children the great opportunity to desire education? Such is what the arts can bring: joy, desire, pleasure.

When I see the smiles on the faces of kids and teachers alike in the auditorium listening to the upbeat stylings of Miss Suzi Shelton, when I see them onstage with awesome rap artist Dyme-A-Duzin, one thing is absolute and that is their receptivity to information.

Miss Suzi's suggestion that songs are poems put to melody, or Dyme's, that journal writing leads to great truthful hip-hop...the kids hear those messages. They are engaged.



The city's great artists can engage kids to learn any lessons they need to learn so long as they capture the wondrous imagination and promise the great payoff of pleasure.

The arts can wield awesome power as a tool to teach kids the real lesson: learning is fabulous.

Stephanie Thompson is the founder, executive director of InspireCorps, a new arts education resource to link NYC artists with schools. Visit