Rolling to NPR: Arts Classes Can Be an “Oasis”

James Haywood Rolling Jr.James Haywood Rolling Jr., professor of arts education, spoke to NPR on the importance and impact of arts and creative classes in K-12 schools. According to NPR, health experts recently declared the decline in children and adolescents’ mental health a “national emergency,” and creative classes and spaces are trying to help.

Rolling Jr., a former art teacher and current president of the National Art Education Association, says art class is often a school’s “oasis.” He knows that “even though it’s a struggle right now,” arts teachers in visual arts, drama, music, dance, and other creative areas are “very much needed” and allow kids to tap into their “creative superpowers.”

“Art teachers have a unique ability to affect students’ agency, the sense of being able to take what is a mess or chaos and make order out of it, even if one is feeling lost in oneself or in the context of one’s daily circumstances, we have this ability to get at that thing that makes us human.”