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One easy way to change the conversation and be an art advocate

art advocacy

Why does art matter?

What is the purpose of creativity?

Do these questions sound familiar?

When someone asks one of these questions, they’re usually coming from one of two camps. 1. They’re actually curious and really do want to have better understand of why art matters. 2. They’re trying to ruffle some feathers, because they’ve already decided that it doesn’t matter.

I’m not a math teacher, but students often ask me, what’s the point of math. They’re secretly ( sometimes not so secretly) , hoping that I’ll say that there isn’t a point. ( I am the art teacher) Instead of me attempting to answer the question, I give back to the students, but lead them through a series of “why” questions. ( yes, kind of like talking to a 3 year old.)


  • Why do I need to learn math in school?
    • Because math and numbers help me to create a design layout for my home?
  • Why do I need to create a design layout for my home?
    • Because I want to be sure that I don’t spend money on furniture that won’t fit.
  • Why don’t I want to spend money on furniture that is the wrong size?
    • Because I don’t have money to waste, or time to spend returning furniture

Now do the same thing with creativity, starting with, Why does creativity matter?

  • Why does creativity matter?
    • Your answer:_______________________________________
  • Turn your answer into a why question.
    • Your answer:________________________________________
  • Turn your previous answer into a why question
    • Your answer______________________________________

This is a great exercise to do both for yourself and with your students, and you can do it on any topic.

If you’d like to go deeper with your understanding of creativity explore the following resources.

Explore definitions of creativity

A case for Creativity, why it matters

Some of my favorite books about creativity

Creativity in the classroom Part 1

Creativity in the classroom Part 2

Creativity in the classroom Part 3