Anyone who knows me, knows I am a lover of art. Art of many forms: painting, sculpture, photography, literature, film, music and theatre.

Art can be an expression of pleasure. Of pain. Of love. Art can explore serious topics such as illness, racism or equality. Art can bridge divides or prompt conversation. Art can carry us away into fantasy worlds. Even in the midst of heartache or turmoil, art has the ability to suspend reality and provide solace. Picasso said this: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

When cuts in education are discussed, sometimes the arts find their way onto the chopping block. And yet when I see students engaged in the creation of various forms of art, my heart aches to think this could disappear. I have felt goosebumps when students join their voices together in song. I have seen the creative and comedic energy of students revealed in film. I have been awed at the talent of young visual artists who struggle to find success in other areas of the curriculum.

Some describe art as fluff, as an extra. I believe art is integral to the development of the whole child and a valuable endeavour in whatever form it takes.

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” George Bernard Shaw

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