Arts Education in the 21st Century
Creativity is a driving force in the 21st century global economy, with the fastest growing jobs and emerging industries relying on the ability of workers to think unconventionally and use their imaginations.
The best employers the world over will be looking for the most competent, most creative, and most innovative people on the face of the earth ... This will be true not just for the top professionals and managers, but up and down the length and breadth of the workforce ... Those countries that produce the most important new products and services can capture a premium in world market ... (2007, National Center on Education and the Economy)
Experience with and knowledge of the arts are essential components of the P-12 curriculum in the 21st century. As the state of New Jersey works to transform public education to meet the needs of a changing world and the 21st century workforce, capitalizing on the unique ability of the arts to unleash creativity and innovation in our students is critical for success, as reflected in the mission and vision that follow:
Mission: The arts enable personal, intellectual, social, economic, and human growth by fostering creativity and providing opportunities for expression beyond the limits of language.
Vision: An education in the arts fosters a population that:
Creates, reshapes, and fully participates in the enhancement of the quality of life, globally.
Participates in social, cultural, and intellectual interplay among people of different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds through a focus on the humanities. Possesses essential technical skills and abilities significant to many aspects of life and work in the 21st century. Understands and impacts the increasingly complex technological environment.
Intent and Spirit of the Visual and Performing Arts:
The intent and spirit of the New Jersey Visual and Performing Arts Standards builds upon the philosophy and goals of the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education and National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) National Arts Standards, anticipated for final publication in 2014. Equitable access to arts instruction is achieved when the four arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre, and visual art) are offered throughout the P-12 spectrum. Thus, the goal of the standards is that all students have regular, sequential arts instruction throughout their P-12 education.
The expectation of the New Jersey arts standards is that all students communicate at a basic level in each of the four arts disciplines by the end of fifth grade, using the vocabulary, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of each arts discipline in a developmentally appropriate manner. Beginning in grade 6, student instruction in the arts is driven by specialization, with students choosing one of the four arts disciplines based on their interests, aptitudes, and career aspirations. By the end of grade 12, students are expected to communicate proficiently in one or more arts disciplines of their choice. By graduation from secondary school, all students should, in at least one area of specialization, be able to:
Define and solve artistic problems with insight, reason, and technical proficiency.
Develop and present basic analyses of works of art from structural, historical, cultural, and aesthetic perspectives. Call upon their informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods. Relate various types of arts knowledge and skills within and across the arts disciplines by mixing and matching competencies and understandings in art-making, history, culture, and analysis in any arts-related project.