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Why Does STEM Need an A?

by Louise Jackson and Shari Lariviere, Country School STEAM Coordinators, and Laurie Flaherty and Amy Peters,, Country School Visual Art Teachers

Science, technology, engineering and math: STEM is the curriculum for future generations, but it must include an A for the arts. Without the arts we are robotic. Our future needs STEAM. To illustrate, visual art is a language unto itself, its images processed much more quickly than written information. Specific colors evoke emotions; intense bright colors alert and awaken, while muted colors calm. Lines and shapes behave similarly: vertical and jagged lines enliven, while horizontal lines relax. Think about shapes: circles are soft, while triangles are pointed. Shapes affect our perception. Often times visual art speaks to our subconscious and emotional self, which affects the marketing of a product. Clearly, the arts drive innovation and creativity. Ideas are more easily sold through the use of the arts: a catchy song, a convincing argument, appealing images. Moreso, the arts allow for collaboration. Google is hiring more people from arts and liberal arts backgrounds because these people tend, according to Google, to be better problem solvers and better on-the-job learners than straight STEM students.  STEM needs its A. Art is the glue that binds and maintains cultures/civility. Guillaume Apollinaire said that without art, the world would become chaos. Art is what makes us human.