A shocking BBC survey has revealed that 90% of secondary schools are either reducing lesson time, staff or facilities for at least one creative subject, with funding cuts and an increased focus on core subjects cited as the main causes. Music, art and drama – subjects often seen as ‘less academic’ – are being pushed out in favour of a decidedly more regimented curriculum. But what effect is this having on our young generation?
Eliminating creative subjects is having a knock-on effect on students’ mental health. In May 2018, the NSPCC reported that the number of referrals from English schools seeking treatment for pupils rose by more than a third over the preceding three years. More recently, the Children’s Society stated that more than 100,000 children aged 14 in the UK are self-harming.
Pictured: 'Our Family' by John D Wilson
Natasha Devon, a mental health campaigner and the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental, reveals: “We know the arts and creativity have a measurable therapeutic benefit, not just for recovering from mental illness but in maintaining mental wellness. They are therefore valuable for people at all points on the mental health spectrum.
“My book is centred on the idea that language can be an inadequate tool for expressing ourselves emotionally. Being heard and understood is a fundamental human need, but we must remember that not all communication is verbal.”
Feversham Primary School in Bradford was shortlisted for two national teaching awards after adopting the Kodály approach, which encourages children to learn subconsciously through rhythm, hand signs and movement. This convincing case for the importance of the creative arts in a child’s mental and academic development is further supported by the British Association of Art Therapists, who claim that art both increases the feel-good chemical dopamine and stimulates the brain to grow new neurons.
You can read more about art therapy in a previous edition of our bi-annual Fine Art Collector magazine, here.
As we see creativity and arts disappearing from schools, the resurgence of art in pop culture is a welcome change. During one of their shows in London, Beyoncé and Jay-Z released their ‘Apes**t’ video: a 6-minute masterpiece filmed in the Louvre. Featuring some of the world’s most-recognised artworks – including ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Portrait of a Negress’ and ‘Great Sphinx of Tanis’ – it has racked up over 112 million views and caused waves around the world. In fact, the Louvre now offers a tour of the art featured in the music video.
We’re passionate about instilling our passion for art in the young generation. Our Young Fine Artist competition sees school children recreate work from their favourite artist at their local Castle Fine Art gallery. We teach them about the history of the artists, along with their inspirations and techniques – which then inspires pupils as they undergo their own art studies at school.
Previous winners include 11-year-old Sultanah Alghamdi from Pleasant Street Primary School in Liverpool, who created a fantastic representation of a piece by best-selling artist John Myatt. Her art was hung on the walls alongside Ronnie Wood and Bob Dylan, and she was presented with a certificate and a £100 voucher for Cass Art.
Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.
© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2023. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.
Washington Green Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 726395. Credit provided subject to age and status. Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies V12 Finance