Years of research show that it's closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.

Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation about the visual arts argues that the intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the art experience do more than sweeten an individual's life -- according to the report, they "can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing," creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion

As a means of encountering the world around us, the arts offer a unique combination of intellectual, emotional, imaginative, and physical experiences. The sounds of music, the movements of a dancing body, the colors in a painting and the emotion visible on the face of an actor--all of these are alternative languages. They are opportunities for capturing ideas and feelings, for communicating and for learning, that move well beyond words.

But, listen to why kids think art education is important!

The evidence is clear, ARTS Matter! The following is a collection of research to help you make the case for the arts as essential part of a 21st Century Education.