From STEM to STEAM – Why “Art” is so Critical

Recently on a college visit, I learned about the new movement of STEM to STEAM. As STEM grows in popularity, it feels like we are missing a really important component – Art. While touring a prestigious university, I noticed one of the newer buildings on campus. It was a monstrosity! It was ugly! I couldn’t understand how they could build such a huge building without taking into consideration the aesthetic design. It stuck out like a sore thumb. It really demonstrated how important art and design are when talking about STEM. I believe that our society needs to add “Art” to the STEM equation. Without art and design, what are we building? How will people relate? What are we leaving for future generations. Below is information about STEAM as designed by RISD.

From the Rhode Island School of Design website –

What is STEAM?

In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.

Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.

We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.


STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.

The objectives of the STEAM movement are to:

  • transform research policy to place Art + Design at the center of STEM
  • encourage integration of Art + Design in K–20 education
  • influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation
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