OPINION: Eric Oddleifson Lives

Michael Weymouth

October 14, 2022 By Michael Weymouth

Kudos to the Hingham Arts Alliance for recognizing the importance of the arts in the development of Hingham’s children. Per their mission statement, the newly-created Hingham Arts Alliance goal is to enhance support, advocacy, and awareness for the arts within the Hingham Public Schools and the wider Hingham community.

HHA contends that exposure to the arts is more than painting pretty pictures, it taps into and nurtures a child’s imagination and thus enhances many other aspects of learning. HAA is based on the premise that participation in the arts contributes to success at school and work and in life.

Hingham residents might recall the important work Eric Oddleifson did with the subject of arts education, which is now mirrored by the HAA. Eric died in 2011, but for many years he was a passionate advocate of the arts and devoted his life to furthering the cause of arts education: http://www.artslearning.org/eric-oddleifson-1935-2011/. He founded the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum; over a 20-year period it merged with other organizations and is now known as Arts|Learning https://www.artslearning.org. The organization contents that the arts:

  • activate mental energy by awakening and educating the imagination, the seat of our thought processes themselves;
  •  are a model of "learning by doing" and engaging students with the real world (the apprenticeship model of learning, with teacher as coach);
  • develop aspiration to achieve, to get better, to excel; require hard work to perfect the techniques demanded by the specific art form; require discipline, and the continuing need to practice to hone technique;
  • require long-term commitment;
  • and require cooperation and collective accountability in a group performance – music, theater, and dance.

Eric no doubt has a smile on his face today knowing that the Hingham Arts Alliance has picked up the mantle he so believed in.

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