Being on non-arts track doesn't mean giving up the arts

I have a son currently in the School Of The Arts (Sota).

In his letter, Mr Jeffrey Say Seck Leong suggested that the decision to pursue a non-arts-related discipline is due to societal and parental pressure (Is arts school needed for students to pursue non-arts future?; May 22).

This is not true for my family or the family of any Sota student we have come to know.

Some of my son's schoolmates were even offered places in non-arts schools during the Direct School Admission exercise. Were we "pragmatic" parents, we would have pressured them to accept. Yet, our children are in Sota.

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Does a passion for the arts have to translate to pursuing arts-related courses in universities?

Sota graduates going on to non-arts-related courses does not mean giving up on their art.Visual artists do not throw away their art supplies simply because they are no longer in an "arts environment".

These students can dance, act, create music and write for their new schools through non-academic avenues.

The vibrancy of our local arts scene cannot be dependent only on the number of professional artists we produce. Our long-term wish should be to develop a society that embraces arts and culture as part of our cosmopolitan identity.

Sota's goal - to identify and groom future generations of artists and creative professionals to be leaders in all fields, and to be patrons and supporters of the arts - reflects this.

This has been rightly described as an "ecosystem", where the various stakeholders and players are intrinsically tied together.

Sota has provided a safe and vibrant learning environment for children who learn differently, thrive in non-traditional school settings and have a passion for the arts at this point of their lives. Let us not stifle that.

Karen Chia Hwee Kim (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Being on non-arts track doesn't mean giving up the arts'. Print Edition | Subscribe