Hot Take: Why the arts are starting to pick up “STEAM”

Photo Illustration by Nathan de la Cerda | Multimedia Journalist

By Madison Martin | Contributor

In 2001, the U.S. National Science Foundation created STEM, an education curriculum centered on building science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills in students.

However, a movement has grown for a change in the educational program system called “STEAM,” which incorporates adding the “arts” as one of the core subjects for students.

From President Obama, public officials have cautioned providing the arts with equal weight as the sciences would cause students to become distracted and weaken their STEM education, causing the economy to suffer. However, I believe the STEAM movement is trying to enhance student creativity that can be used to strengthen their STEM abilities.

The STEAM movement isn’t about taking time away from STEM skills to make more room for art; it’s about helping students tap into their imagination and express their individualism. Because the arts refer to a spectrum of different crafts, it opens several doors for future builders, dreamers and innovators. Exploring the use of art creates a pathway of new opportunities for expression.

By adding the arts, students would become more than just an analytical person but a person who is also imaginative, self-expressive and ultimately more well-rounded. The STEAM movement allows people not to have to side between a part of their brain. Instead, they can enhance both: creative and logical skills.

Sectioning off areas of study and centering focus on only logistical testing is a critical factor in the current low levels of engagement in STEM. Including art into the curriculum is an outlet for students who feel the current system is stifling their creativity by building a sense of enjoyment when learning. STEAM can provide non-science professionals the fuel and drive they need to be a success in the world.

Paving another way for students to learn actively will cause an increase in focus for STEM subjects as they’ve come to a newfound understanding of science, technology engineering, and math. Connecting artistic mediums allow a more delightful take on education with the absence of a highly pressured environment.

It’s easy to view science as above the arts because it’s influenced societal progress immensely through technological advancements. But often, artists’ fresh ideas and new perspectives inspire scientific advancement.

Leonardo Da Vinci, though best-known for his dramatic artwork, inspired scientific discoveries by sculpting accurate models of muscularity and the circulatory system. He studied chemistry to manifest the perfect paints and anatomy to understand muscularity of the human body. Da Vinci is renowned in several fields of science and serves as a role model for applying the scientific method to every aspect of life, especially the arts.

With technology becoming more efficient and sophisticated, artists provide diverse solutions through creative thinking. The addition of art offers another means of motivation for STEM learning, because STEAM doesn’t take anything away from STEM, but only adds to it.

Art deserves to be weighted equally with STEM, as it’s already incorporated throughout our society. It can be seen from the fashionable clothes on a person’s back to the next mumble rapper that’ll have their 15 minutes of fame. The world needs more innovators and dreamers like the artists that you subliminally admire in your daily life.