Archive for the ‘Rep. Randy McDaniel’ Category

Oklahoma Students Access to the Visual Arts By Randy McDaniel

March 25, 2008

…by OK Rep. Randy McDaniel

Oklahoma City – March 24, 2008 – The arts are a vital part of a well-rounded education and vibrant state. Oklahoma has enjoyed more than its fair share of creative and innovative artists. From worldwide singers and entertainers to outstanding visual artists, Oklahomans have dreamed big and been on the forefront of creativity.

The Oklahoma Creativity Project, headed by OSU President Burns Hargis, strives to make Oklahoma a recognized hub of creativity and ingenuity. I strongly endorse his efforts and want to contribute to the initiative.

Recently, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill I authored, House Bill 2699, which was named the “Traveling Arts Bill”. This bill provides Oklahoma students in schools that do not have existing visual arts programs access to the arts. As schools focus increasingly on teaching for the next standardized test, art and creativity have been pushed aside. In fact, in many schools with limited resources, art classes have been completely eliminated.

The Oklahoma Art Council is in charge of awarding grants to qualified organizations willing to travel the state and teach art in schools without full-time visual arts teachers.

Suzanne Tate, the new executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council, said this bill is important for Oklahoma schools because it brings arts back into the classroom in a sustainable way, giving every student the opportunity to be exposed to it. She also added that art helps kids learn by opening up the world and exposing them to new cultures and new types of art. Many students are visual learners and art helps them with the learning process making it easier for them to achieve and do well in other academic areas like math and science.

Once all schools are able to offer quality art programs, teachers can also take advantage of the great educational opportunities found across the state. From City Arts, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to the Philbrook and Gilcrease Museums, Oklahoma offers outstanding attractions that will enhance students’ art-educational experiences.

Oklahoma is also a host to many arts festivals, including the annual Oklahoma City Arts Festival held in April. This week-long festival provides students another opportunity to gain exposure to professional artists and all types of outstanding art, including sculpture, painting, photography, and pottery.

Arts education provides students an advantage as they begin to compete for jobs and careers in the 21st century economy. Art education helps enhance critical thinking skills and creativity. Thus, when students have access to the arts, it ignites their intellectual curiosity and development preparing them for our rapidly changing society.

See also: The OKPNS State of Creativity Archive