Art ed. is more than enrichment

To the editor:

As Youth Arts Month is ending, there has been a lot of description of the arts as providing enrichment for children. And, as if the arts needed an excuse to be taught, statistics are even advanced to establish that students of the arts perform better in math. (One will research in vain the effects classes in mathematics have on performance in the arts.)

Completely left aside in all of this is what approaches a near-certainty: that for a few of the children of Edgemere, Redridge and of Copper Island who will be artists, these classes are a form of early, yet very significant, career preparation. Obvious, yet ignored, is that Houghton and Barkell Elementaries could be giving tuition not only to future full-time engineers but also to the artists of Soho’s lofts and the berated wanderers of the cobbled ways and terraces of Montmartre.

When will math classes be cut from area elementary schools? Elementary-school students may have their lives enriched, even if they are temporarily frazzled and confounded, by fractions, but there are those of us for whom the beautiful, stretching and reaching line, the spill and form of paint, the consterned scribble and the spiral at the moment it loosens, the moment it relaxes, make our careers and are our lives. Assessing the value of elementary-school art while ignoring that some of the children will grow up to be painters and draughtsmen makes no sense.

Chevalier Daniel C. Boyer

New York, NY