California adopts new art standards for ‘creative economy’
SACRAMENTO —Once considered an afterthought in education, with little prospects of employment or career opportunities, artistic disciplines are now an emerging “creative economy.”
In addition to studies that show how art can improve a student’s overall learning and well being, a 2018 report suggests that it is also an economically viable career path. According to the Otis College of Art and Design, California’s creative economy generated $407.1 billion in economic output and 1.6 billion jobs, resulting in $141.5 billion in wages earned statewide. In the Los Angeles region alone, the creative economy generated $198 billion in economic output with $59.6 billion in wages earned.
In light of this and other reports, the State Board of Education recently adopted a new California Arts standards, stating it is a critical step in enhancing creativity in students and preparing students for California’s “creative economy.” The last update to the state’s arts standards was in 2001.
“This was long overdue,” said Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Creativity and appreciation for the arts is important for all students to have a well-rounded education, exposing them to new ideas and perspectives. Arts education boosts school attendance, academic achievement, and college attendance rates; improves school climate; and promotes higher self-esteem and social-emotional development. In addition, proficiency in the technology related to creative work is becoming an important skill for students as they progress into college and career.”
In 2016, Governor Brown signed AB 2862, which directed California’s Instructional Quality Commission to recommend revised visual and performing arts standards. Shortly thereafter, AB 37 directed the addition of media arts as a fifth discipline.
Adding media arts as a discipline addressed its diverse categories, including photography, digital imaging, video, animation, sound production, web design, graphic design, virtual design, interactive design, multimedia, and virtual reality. In addition to this new discipline, the new arts standards also update teaching approaches to the artistic disciplines of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts.
The state met with focus groups and later convened a Visual and Performing Arts Standards Advisory Committee of classroom teachers, and other educators. That group developed the standards using the National Core Arts Standards before being adopted by the California State Board of Education.