The ‘useless’ arts

“Amidst the attention given to the sciences as how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered ‘useless,’ will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously.”

– John Maeda

It is interesting to me that humans have ranked certain disciplines as more important than others.  We tend to do this a lot in school.  Mathematical linguistic is more important than art.  Science is more important than communication.  I think that we have forgotten that art, science, math, language…they are all of equal importance, they rely on each other. They are all inextricably woven together into a beautiful tapestry of this thing that we call life.  Schools should reflect this.



  1. Kelly,
    AMEN! If schools do not reflect this beautiful woven tapestry of reading, art, science, music, social studies, physical education, and math, we are doing a huge disservice to our children. Thank you for introducing educators and students to the technology that will enhance the fabric we are weaving for today’s youth. I see in you ONE PASSONIATE TEACHER doing your part to better education. Keep up the great efforts of teaching, blogging, and sharing on tweeter. A big fan of yours in San Antonio Texas

  2. I totally agree with you! Who are we to decide which disciplines are more important than others? If we only focus on educating students one subject at a time, they won’t learn how everything they are learning is really tied together. They may become experts in certain areas, but that won’t make up for their complete lack of experience in other areas. We will never fully understand how important these “useless arts” are until we raise a generation of kids without them.

  3. Yes we do a whole lot of work on multiple intelligences when the students are younger, then just load ’em up with written work and exams when they get older…

  4. At the core of the arts is the idea of imagination. Many of our greatest mathematicians, physicists, technologists and scientists are dreamers. But we don’t teach dreaming at school in STEM subjects. We try to share it around in the arts, but where’s the subject called “creativity”. If the arts are less important, we’ll bring up a generation who struggle to innovate – discouraged to do so at school. Without the fusion of sciences and arts, how much poorer will we all be, in terms of culture but also nuturing minds and hearts brave enough to tackle our world’s bigger problems.

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