For many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes.
Research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent. However, researchers found after a multi-year study that strong causal relationships do in fact exist between arts education & a range of desirable outcomes.
They concluded visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition. Expanding access to art, whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a central part of any education curriculum.
Study conducted by Daniel H. Bowen, Rice University postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute, Brian Kisida, senior research associate & Jay P. Greene, education reform professor of University of Arkansas.