Saturday, June 6, 2009

Arts are SERIOUS Education!

What's on my mind???...

Saving ARTS in schools and in the community - that's what! Whether that be important school art teachers, music teachers or arts-in-education residencies, teaching artists, after school arts, etc.

Several young, fresh and vibrant art & music teachers are losing their positions at East High School because other schools are cutting and East's teachers don't have as many years in. These are people who are teaching some of the toughest kids in challenging situations.

There is Mr. Louis who is taking additional time out of his day to give individual piano lessons to help Emmanuel (8th grader) deepen his talent. This kid loves the piano and he can really play! He loves it and it is one main reason he comes to school when other things don't excite him!

This band teacher also started a high-energy DRUMline out of 7th and 8th graders who have never touched a drum.

Then there is sweet Ms. Andrews who took an energetic, sometimes naughty, group of 7th graders last year and turned them into the ArtPeace@East chorus when East had not had any chorus going for years. Now she teaches AP@E 7th and 8th graders and has created a school-wide choir!

I hear about amazing teachers at School of the Arts and other places being asked to leave.

Cuts are never happy times, but it is disheartening when we who passionately advocate for arts, arts & technology integration, arts-in-education keep speaking out to PROVE the value of the arts - often to be ignored or marginilized again and again!

Schools don't mind hanging student paintings on the walls or all over district central office, but do they FIGHT to keep these positions going?

Arts are proven over and over again to WORK to educate students, lift scores, improve attendance and make learning more engaging and lively!

Arts are not frivolous, Friends, or expendable. They are to be taken SERIOUSly!

Eyes need to be opened about the pure power of the arts. The humanities tie directly to the arts - you can't teach ELA, Social Studies, World Languages, etc. without tapping into the arts. It doesn't mean abandoning Math and Science. These are not in separate silos.

We are all WHOLE PEOPLE who are working to raise and educate WHOLE CHILDREN (when we can look past our own selfishness to remember the real needs of children).

The Arts & Technology can shine a light on all subjects and be integrated into all academic areas to make learning more engaging, easier to grasp and fun for kids!
Art for Art's Sake is needed as well as Arts as a vehicle for teaching all subjects -- yes, even MATH & SCIENCE!!! Guess what, there is even RESEARCH & DATA to show it!

This isn't a plea from the pollyannas and hippies singing Kumbaya around a fire...but a charge from the greatest minds in BRAIN RESEARCH!

Eliminating art from education is like eliminating beauty from nature.

Arts and technology are an integral part of who we are as people and it is essential to healthy communities and individuals - the need to think creatively, to use ingenuity, invent, be flexible, think on your feet and all the skills of improvisation in an unpredictable world are necessary!

Support Americans for the Arts, support ArtPeace, support your schools, support your child's education and the gift of a colorful world. Imagine our world without it...


Kristin Rapp

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