In the nude – a case for arts education



My field of work so far has been mostly various shapes and forms of arts education. Music education, youth empowerment through arts, talent development in the arts. I enrolled in this business in 1999 and have written and read more funding applications than I care for.

The current Big Question seems to be: why do we do this? This is always a good question to ask about anything we do but recently the answers tend to be political, more than anything else. We do arts education because it is good for our brains. We do it because we need to protect our cultural heritage. (Against whom?) We do it because it is good for our societies when we can make art together and marvel at our joined efforts in a warm haze of social cohesion.

To me, art education is important because of this:


From the SFGate website: “The statue — roughly three times as tall as Michelangelo’s David — is made of steel mesh in the form of a graceful dancer, with an arched back and arms stretched overhead. At the base of the statue is a message in 10 languages that says: “What would the world be like if women were safe?”” It is placed outside the new tech campus in SF. Women in tech is something of a hot issue right now.

The statue in question, being nude and all, is not wearing clothes. This is somewhat shocking for the general audience, particularly people with children – including (or maybe especially) teens.


There is a whole debate here to be had about parenting and prude culture and (why not?) double standards up to and including breastfeeding in public. Because nudity. But at the end of the day it comes down to this:

How do we know the difference between art and pornography?

Through art education. That’s how.

Art makes us human by detaching us from our usual humanity (pornography) and allowing us to regard ourselves and others for realz. As if we were, so to speak, unclothed. Imagine that world where women were safe. Imagine a world where everyone would be safe. This is why we need art education.

2 thoughts on “In the nude – a case for arts education

  1. It’s a beautiful statue. I’m annoyed that we live in a world where people are outraged at this, and yet a 12 year old can legally go and watch a big movie out at the moment where a man beats another man to death. I mean… argh!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. It gets worse though. Maybe my next post will be about how we need better education – as a whole. Not just the arts, but this case is symptomatic of why we need better education. We need to train our brains about what we see, hear, read and perceive in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

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