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Perspectives: Appreciating the Arts

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Perspectives: Appreciating the Arts
From the Head of School Christian Sullivan
Christian Sullivan

The advent of the printing press put a lot of industrious monks out of business. They never expected to be replaced as scribes by more efficient machines. Weavers suffered a similar fate in the 1700s when the automatic loom made their labor unnecessary.

Innovations like these were somewhat sporadic over the last millennium. The last 30 years, however, have seen a transformative period of innovation like no other. It is not only manual labor that is being made obsolete, but increasingly, even straightforward intellectual tasks can be carried out by tiny machines we carry in our pockets. And while the jury is still out, it seems that artificial intelligence may start to intrude on ever more complex intellectual functions, a talent that until now has been the sole preserve of humans.

Future employment looks fragile, or even non-existent, in certain fields. Yet it still seems that humans are capable of creativity and flexible problem-solving that technology currently finds difficult to mimic. How do we foster in our young people these ways of thinking and doing in order to prepare them for the lives they will lead? For sure, academic rigor and applied thinking are essential to developing creativity and flexibility of thought. But research has also shown that students who participate in arts education see improved critical thinking skills and creativity, enhanced tolerance and empathy, increased test scores and graduation rates, and improved resiliency.

At Bullis, we are proud of the myriad opportunities our students have to foster their creativity in music, dance, studio art, and drama. The program is truly expansive and deep, with opportunities for every student, no matter their current skill level or talent. And yes, while developing critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of thought through the arts may be increasingly important, the uniquely human appreciation and passion for the arts are enduring qualities with intrinsic value in their own rights. We want to instill in our students an abiding love for the arts that will last them a lifetime. In these pages, you will see that the Bullis Arts Program does just that.

Warmly,

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This article is featured in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Bullis Magazine.

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  • Spring/Summer 2023