In an article for the Washington Post, Jill Coody Smits describes some ways schools are exposing kids to the arts and discusses some of the benefits of arts education.
Brian Kisida, assistant research professor at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, says the arts can give kids who may not be math whizzes or star athletes a place to excel, and finding that place to shine leads to all-important engagement. “There are correlational studies that show kids enrolling in high school arts programs are more likely to graduate and go to college.”
In addition, he says the arts can have the larger societal effect of increasing tolerance and empathy. “Art has a broadening effect because it presents a perspective on reality that challenges preconceived ideas and makes kids look at something from outside their comfort zone.”
A study by Jay P. Greene, Brian Kisida and Daniel H. Bowen, “The Educational Value of Field Trips,” was the first large-scale randomized-control trial designed to measure what students learn from school tours of an art museum. The authors found that,
(E)nriching field trips contribute to the development of students into civilized young men and women who possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical-thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have a greater taste for consuming art and culture.
— Education Next