Art for art's sake

Rant alert. Don't worry, it doesn't last long.

I've found myself tired lately. Not physically tired. I'm tired of justifying the arts. I know, I know, I posted that lovely list of ten lessons the arts teach, and I'm clear that storytelling enhances reading skills, problem solving, empathy, blablabla. I get that the arts can fit into the curriculum in myriad ways. 

I'm just tired of having to tell people why storytelling is important. I'm tired of trying to convince anyone that the arts are worth funding. I want to remind people of the bumper sticker that says "The Earth without Art is just...Eh" 

I long for art for art's sake. I long for the end of standardized tests that test how well kids can answer test questions and that leave students and teachers stressed, anxious. I long to live in a world where I never again have to say how I will measure the effect of my storytelling on the listeners, as if my impact on an audience could be quantified. I long to tell stories that don't have to fit into a curriculum or connect with awkward standards, stories that matter on their own. I long to live in a culture that recognizes the intrinsic value of the arts. 

As part of this, I also long for education reform. The current system doesn't allow kids to be divergent thinkers, to be their true creative selves. Today I came across the ideas of Sir Ken Robinson. Here's his TED talk, "Do schools kill creativity?"