Why an Arts Education is a Great Investment for the Future

Here’s why you should let your child pursue an arts education: Critical thinking skills developed through the arts will help your child learn the most sought-after skills that businesses in the New Economy require.  

As a parent, you want the best education for your child but your teen is fixated on jazz and seems oblivious to anything else. And he’s good at it - that saxophone soars to the heavens every time he picks it up. You just wish someone could help him with his passion while making sure he’s equally good at earning his high school diploma.  

Maybe it’s time to send him to the best state school you’ve never heard of: The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. There he can toot his own horn and learn problem-solving skills that will set him up for success in life, whether he stays with music or develops other interests. He will earn his state academic requirements while being taught by a team of mentors who are established practicing artists in their fields. He’ll also be sought after by the 70 colleges that recruit at the arts school every year.

This Governor’s school was developed in 1999 to allow teens in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades a residential program in Greenville to concentrate in one of five areas: creative writing, dance, drama, music or the visual arts. Students learn discipline, continuous practice, commitment, self-exploration, experimentation, and creative thinking. They learn to succeed, fail, regroup and reimagine while working with other students who are pursuing the same dreams.

The school is free and open to any student in South Carolina through applications and auditions or portfolio submissions to their selected area. School study consists of academics, studio practice with professional artist-faculty members, and a humanities-focused component integrated throughout the academic year. Financial assistance is available to offset the required purchase of a high school meal plan and a residence hall fee. 

Because the residential high school students live and learn on campus, away from home during the school year, they have the ability to truly focus on their art and academic studies. Governor’s School students learn how to be independent, advocate for themselves, manage their time, and balance challenging workloads and schedules. This prepares them for college life and beyond.

Take the example of Rachel Inman, a 2007 visual arts graduate who is now a Staff UX Design Lead at Google, where she leads a team of Google Maps UX designers, researchers, 3D visual artists, and writers focused on creating a mobile, outdoor augmented reality pedestrian navigation experience called Live View. 

She credits the Governor’s school with instilling in her a methodical and thoughtful creation process, an avid curiosity about how others see the world, and the importance of giving back. 

Teyonah Parris has taken her 2005 drama degree to the television screen. She began her career playing secretary Dawn Chambers in the AMC drama series Mad Men (2012–2015) and starring in the 2014 independent film Dear White People. Since that, Parris has starred in Spike Lee's film Chi-Raq, in the TV series Empire, as well as in the Academy-nominated film If Beale Street Could Talk. 

In 2021, Parris landed her breakthrough role portraying an adult Monica Rambeau in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ series, WandaVision. She will reprise the role in The Marvels, scheduled to be released in 2022. Parris has won two Black Reel Awards and received nominations at Screen Actors Guild Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.

Lonnie Russell from Summerville, now a practicing family medicine doctor in Atlanta, Georgia, was a piano music graduate in 2011 who went on to earn a BS in Music Performance with minors in Chemistry and Biology from the University of South Carolina. Then he earned a medical degree from the USC School of Medicine and completed his residency at Emory University School of Medicine.

The Governor’s School programs focus on the whole student. If a student’s basic needs are not being met, they cannot succeed so the school provides wraparound support services such as academic guidance and tutoring, mental health counseling, and round-the-clock support however students may need it.

Arts education supports the social and emotional well-being of students. Self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-management and perseverance, social awareness and relationship skills are central to any arts education activity, no matter the age and ability of the student or the environment in which the learning takes place. 

A Gallup Poll that included schools in South Carolina (as well as the Governor’s School) found that students in arts-rich schools have a higher rate of engagement and hope for the future.

So if your teen would prefer to stay at his home school, the Governor’s school also has one-week, two-week and five-week intensive summer programs for students starting as early as 7th grade. 

Universities and collegiate arts programs across the country recognize the high caliber of the Governor’s School’s pre-professional arts training and academic studies. That gives students access to top-quality internships and programs, like Rachel received when she went to Carnegie Mellon University and majored in Industrial Design and minored in Business Administration. She now teaches design classes around the world and in 2019 was named one of a dozen most inspiring women in design by Creative Bloq. 

For more information about the programs and the school visit https://www.scgsah.org/ or call 864.282.3777.