Even today, facing the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the need to educate in art and culture remains a topic of debate that is on the table. It is commonly thought that culture, to whose creation we all contribute, arises by spontaneous generation and does not need maintenance or attention. On the contrary, culture as a social phenomenon, and art, as one of its most concrete tangible manifestations, requires the contribution of all. It only makes real sense when there is a conscious exchange between the historical and identity legacy that culture transmits and the new uses and meanings of value that modern societies attribute to it. Well understood, culture does not need many resources to develop, since, as a social phenomenon, it will arise and grow wherever there are individuals. But what is necessary to do is “educate” on the importance and value that culture has per se, because without this educational work there is a destruction of the past, a depreciation of the collection created over centuries and a loss of the referents immediate that give meaning to our own contemporary society.
Far from what one might think, educating in art and culture is much more than instructing in history and artistic techniques. Art is an expressive manifestation that arises in a specific context, and, as such, transmits a large part of the elements that determine the culture of that time and that place. It would be difficult to think that the Renaissance creators reflected in their works the concern about climate change, as it does today, or that the new generation authors reflect with the same zeal the religious scenes that were the quintessential leitmotiv of painting of yore. For that reason, to accommodate art and culture in the classroom is to channel a collective knowledge carved over the centuries and that constitutes the best vestige of our identity as individuals belonging to a particular context.
Unesco has pointed out that the mastery of culture and the arts is fundamental for the development of people. For this same reason, it encourages the design of educational programs that incorporate these branches of knowledge. The benefits are diverse: art education encourages alternative thinking and the search for creative solutions to problems, favors qualities such as tolerance and sensitivity, helps diversity be appreciated and an intercultural dialogue is opened, in addition to developing others intellectual and creative abilities of the individual.
Why is art still seen as something reserved for a few? In the same way that other disciplines equally necessary for development, such as sports activities, associated with collaborative values and psychomotor skills, art and culture require the same attention. In recent years several voices have revealed the benefits associated with art training from an early age. More than a matter of convenience, it is, in reality, an essential content for development that will accompany the individual in the different stages of life. Concepts of absolute topicality and as demanded in the modern business world as creativity, imagination or innovation are based on the stimuli instilled from childhood. Today, intelligence and the use of qualities do not stick exclusively to being proficient with language and mathematics. The promotion of alternative thinking and the solution of ingenious problems, with their well-known applications in the world of entrepreneurship, are intimately associated with art training.
Numerous studies propose a change of approach by incorporating the arts into education. The benefits are innumerable and alter the preconceived and inherited schemes even today on the permanent search for accuracy in the results, typical of subjects such as mathematics. The unpredictable nature of artistic creation helps to develop critical thinking and generate alternative ways of reasoning. The notions of right and wrong are blurred and there is room for expression paths that favor new structures of logical discourse. There is no single form of intelligence, and it is clear that the integration of art and culture in the learning process is necessary. Hopefully this gradual awareness will translate into the incorporation of new tools and educational resources since childhood. It is only possible to love and understand what is known.