Things are moving quickly in education these days. Some schools are open in Quebec while others will remain closed until September. Both students and teachers are living with daily uncertainty – and they have to adapt to the shifting ground in creative ways. During confinement, we have all been avid consumers of the arts. We have soothed ourselves with music and learned the guitar. We have painted rainbows and danced for TikTok. We have laughed and cried as we got lost in movies and series. The arts have connected us to ourselves and, ultimately, to each other, reminding us that we are not alone. The Arts bring us to life – and they bring learning to life as well, come what may.
And yet, the Arts have been side-lined in official statements, as though “essential learning” did not include the arts. Every time we hit a crisis, the reflex is to take a back-to-basics approach in the classroom, which often means cutting out the arts. But we discover time and time again that, in these times of upheaval, it is the the arts that are most essential in our lives. It is during these uncertain times that creativity flourishes and artistic practices nourish our minds and spirits.
We believe that making art allows students to connect with ideas and process emotions in holistic and meaningful ways. We believe that when the Arts are placed at the centre of our curriculum, the learning environment transforms classrooms into stages, hallways into galleries, facts into stories, and memories into legacies. Drama easily woos the languages and the social sciences; music serenades history, science and mathematics; dance makes science and music come alive and the visual arts make visible both concrete ideas and the abstract.
We ask you to share the vision where math becomes a part of an art class and vice versa, where language can be taught by art appreciation, where critical thinking can leap off the page in a critique of a play, where Physical Education and Science can examine the movements and muscles of a ballet dancer. The endless pairings of the arts and other core subjects can easily be reached with a conscious understanding of the importance the Arts play in developing not only well-educated students, but happy, engaged ones as well.
At MAD2, we believe that we are all artists. Our capacity to create and inspire is what brings us together. We believe that teachers can and will use their innate creativity to inspire students to access their own creative powers, at a time when creative thinking is what is needed most.
Be well, stay safe, make art,
The MAD2 DEEN Committee for the Arts