The arts is one of the pillars of not just society but for mankind. No matter what your discipline, you are always constantly thinking of new ideas and ways to express those ideas within your chosen field, whether that will be in performance arts such as acting, dance to things like film production, graphic design, illustration.
But undertaking the arts doesn't just stop after you've finished high school or education. It doesn't start when you get a job working in art and design, TV production, or as a dancer. Life experiences in actually doing it as a hobby or as part of your training, even if you choose not to pursue a career in the arts, counts just as much and is of huge significance as well.
It doesn't matter whether or not you choose to enroll on a part-time college course, or if you get a job in the creative industries; when you actually do it as and when you want, you are developing more as a creative person, but also you are learning more about yourself.
I really dislike the notion that arts education has to be money-orientated. That training and education can only be accessed through monetary means, which I find sad. By this I mean you pay for tutors, instructors to help you, alas, you enroll on courses and classes. It gets to a stage where I think that perhaps it would be for the best if arts funding- even though it is crucial in the development of future artists and keeping institutions alive- were to be fully abolished. Art and creating art is not about making money or gaining money. Yes, the financial incentive may be there. Yet art is about self- discovery on an artistic and personal level; of being appreciative of what you do, but also appreciating that you are willing to work harder to get better at your craft & to find your true calling as a creative individual.
Who cares if people say that being a dancer or artist is not a real job? Who cares if they insist that to truly become a real artist, you must always go to college and study whichever performing or creative arts subject you are interested in? Who really cares if they say you need to be earning money and to be fully employed, in order to be an artist. That type of thinking and ideology is ridiculous and absurd.
The arts is not just some 9-5 job, that you have to be (self) employed and you have to earn a living from it. Art is for life - it exists not just because there is such a thing as the arts, but it exists because people want to express their creativity and choose to do it out of their own freewill, and not in college, university, dance school. They practice, they paint, draw, dance, play instruments in the garage and in their own homes. They post videos on youtube, share their artwork on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, but are all of them studying at a performing arts, creative arts school or in school in general? No, they are not.
I do a lot of drawing at home and I am not employed, I don't do it for money. I do it because I get great pleasure and satisfaction out of what I do as a hobby. By doing and learning the craft, I am educating myself and improving my skills as an artist. Why should anything, or anyone restrict you from participating in your artistic discipline or area?
Indeed arts education is important, especially to all the youngsters, who are considering pursuing this field in order to achieve their life-long goal, but we need to move beyond the notion of arts education being only a public/private schools and colleges thing, and as an academic institution. The main benefit arts education in schools and colleges provide is the training, guidance, critique from professionals and tutors that you'd not get when you are doing the craft itself. Other than that, I don't see why something like college and schools has to be the only viable option and avenue, in order to access the arts, arts education and learning.
Because it isn't. By limiting the arts as an academic or educational access-only thing, one is literately limiting people's choices and depriving and disenfranchising the efforts they strive for, in order to promote and express a) their creativity, b) their ideas, c) their creative freedom and d) their development in their skills and abilities in their particular area.
Life experiences, as in painting, making music, dancing at home are just as invaluable and practical as any training you'd get at a good performing or creative arts school. And it costs less as well, which is a greater incentive.
The arts goes further than school, college, dance school, arts school. Way further.
And until and unless people and artists realize that, then I'm afraid and I hate say this, but the importance of one's artistic development and creativity, will cease to advance further. Not everyone will get into a dance school, not everyone will become an aspiring actor, not everyone wants to be a professional singer. But that's okay.
We need to start educating everyone, especially children and the children of the future in order to recognize that it is okay to continue to be creative..... even if they do not end up in an arts/ performing school. And to reassure them that as long as they continue doing what they are doing, they and their efforts will be praised, as well as acknowledged.