We are trained at a young age to separate art from the core subjects of our studies. Students are unknowingly squeezed through a series of tightly fitted molds on their way from elementary school into adulthood, fully accepting an assumed fact that we spend less time teaching art because it is frivolous in the shadows of science and math. The truth of the matter is that these basic topics of art and science are more closely related than not, and the overlap is more relevant now than ever. The STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are no longer adequate to describe the needs of our society. Our contemporary world craves empathy and understanding in the face of an intensified onset of technological advances and a decline in direct interpersonal communication. Art and design can offer just that. The equation is simple:
STEM + A (Art and Design thinking) = STEAM
This ARCADE feature section brings together the perspectives of experienced educators, design and scientific professionals and current students, to paint, if you will, a compelling landscape of STEAM at work today. The following pages affirm the value of creativity in the twenty-first century, highlighting efforts in classrooms, laboratories and studios to challenge the way we traditionally consider learning and creating.
The contributors to this issue of ARCADE represent only a fraction of the individuals and organizations committed to turning STEM into STEAM. Whether you are an artist, designer, technologist or student, the shift toward STEAM is vital; creativity is essential to American progress. We can no longer deny the importance of an arts education, for the artists’ and designers’ pursuit of expression – to make an impact – gives new life to innovation and our future.