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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The divide between art and science | Opinion -

"Educational funding in this country has always come with a narrative: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) is in crisis, and that’s what we hear in order to push funding toward new computers, new textbooks and better teachers for the sciences" according to Vinu Casper, PSU Vanguard Journalist. 
Photo: The Imaginary Foundation

This is all acceptable until you realize it’s pulling away from other departments that also require funding.

The current administration is proposing to slash funding to liberal arts endowments entirely and add an additional $200 million to promote the sciences. I understand education in general is underfunded and any money coming in is a good thing, but most of it is being funneled into one department. I understand innovation is perceived as literal magic, and STEM is given priority of importance because of the possible technological developments and solutions to widespread problems—cures for diseases and tools for our needs. And yes, I understand science is pushing us forward.

However, this doesn’t mean art is not also pushing us toward something greater. Similar to how scientific breakthroughs impact the world, it is undeniable that a work of art can be just as influential. Expressing ideas in new, meaningful ways that exceed mere words is the very definition of art. These ideas affect us as a society, just as the ideas of science affect us as a species; as science defines the world, our art defines us. 

It is the arts that shape our society, our perception of our successes and of our shortcomings. An idea, presented in a creative way, can spark a hundred more. Inspiration runs wild in the arts, and finding ways to look at things differently—to see from angles we hadn’t before and to try out new things—are common ground between the sciences and the arts. And funding one and not the other is simply not justified.