Mandatory visual and performing arts credits counterproductive

April 25, 2017 — by Amy Tang

Sophomore shares her opinion on school visual and performing arts requirements. 

As I searched through numerous websites, I clicked on a few courses that would satisfy the visual and performing arts credits that I have not yet fulfilled. Since I don’t have enough space for art classes in my junior-year schedule, I planned to take care of the requirement over the summer. Sighing, I glanced at my options: six weeks watching films and writing papers, a stick figure animation course or a photography course.

I like art, but I dislike the idea of taking courses that require a deadline or a grade. For many students who are creative in other forms of art such as dance, having to spend time in a History in Film class or a year-long ceramics course isn’t an ideal way to fulfill this requirement.

Simply put, students don’t need to take a class to appreciate art. The idea of visual and performing arts credits is somewhat self-defeating, since most students end up viewing art as something to do for credit, not for its inherent value.

Art has a very broad description, and shouldn’t be confined to drawing, painting, sculpting or watching films. My form of art takes place in a dance studio three to four times a week as I, along with 10 other students, aim to improve our skills and learn from each other’s movements. But because of the narrow definition of art , people like me have to search for a way to fulfill “visual and performing arts” credits even though we’re engaged in a truly artistic endeavor all the time.

This leads to an unfortunate mindset among much of the student body. Art credits are joked about, since most students don’t take classes they are interested in; rather, they take classes for the sole purpose of fulfilling credits.

Instead of serving the purpose of making sure all students gain a true appreciation of the arts, visual and performing arts credits should not be mandatory, as this merely diminishes their worth and turns a subject that is inherently personal and meaningful into merely another hoop to jump through on the way to a diploma.