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Arts Education - A Necessity, not a Luxury

Minnie Driver, actor and member of The Creative Coalition, recounts how the cornerstones of her academic achievement came from her arts education.

Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

I was fortunate enough to have had a really good education. I reference my education every day as a mother, an actor and a human being. Without music in my curriculum, I never would have understood math. I am so grateful to the teacher who, long before there was scientific evidence being published which supported his theory, encouraged me to explore my love of music as a way to help unscramble my block with mathematics. In fact, the cornerstones of my academic achievement came from my arts education: learning Shakespeare like a new language made learning other languages second nature, and devising plays and poetry fostered a lifelong love of literature and reading.

 Art and music required my left and right brain to trade off in such a collaborative way that I learned to approach more linear problems much more creatively. And, there it is. The arts give children the tools for creative thinking, and creative thinking not only serves children in every aspect of scholastic development, but it also creates people who think outside the box in whatever they end up doing.

 We can't expect children in America to do without an arts education. It is a vital gift we must give them, not as a luxury, but as a necessity.

Minnie Driver is an actor and a member of The Creative Coalition.