The desire for art in our local education institutions is clearly evident each time a high school auditorium feels to near capacity on the day the current year’s musical is announced. It is probably one of the few times we see students hustle to sit as close to the front as possible in school. It’s an excitement and an anticipation not quite explained in words.

That excitement carries over into months of rehearsals and building and creating and sacrificing, and then finally taking the stage in front of, once again, an auditorium filled.

The performing and creative arts in our local schools is without a doubt a much sought after part of the curriculum, for students, staff, parents and community members. We’d be hard-pressed to find any deficiency in participation in things like band, chorus, musical, art, media production and other such outlets. Plain and simple, it’s what many students are drawn to and, in many cases, it can fill a void like nothing else. Whether a student is of the outgoing type who strives for the lead in the musical or the introverted type, who finds comfort and inspiration in sitting quietly and creating a masterpiece alone, the arts can be an important part of shaping youth.

We are happy to see outside organizations also joining the quest to keep art integrated into our education system.

Recently, Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington gathered together educators, students and other community members as well as other members of the art community to further drive home the point of the importance of connecting the dots between art and education.

The event also served as a reminder about how schools and such community entities like Touchstone can work together to provide an art outlet to schools. A partnership like this is especially important in districts where officials may be struggling to keep them afloat as they wrestle with strict state mandates and consider a financial budget every year that satisfies the needs and wants of all involved, most importantly, whether we agree or not, the state and federal government.

That said, we urge school officials to continue to keep those lines of communication open about providing art education among the academics. We realize that balancing a budget becomes increasing difficult year after year as costs to run a school district rise. We understand that when options start to run out, it may seem the only feasible solution would be to turn to the “extras” like art as a place to start trimming. But we call on you to take a closer look at how those areas contribute to a more well-rounded academic environment for some students.

We should all be mindful that the curtain should never close on something that can make such a difference.

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