We know that arts education is engaging and hands-on. We know that it weaves together educational standards, creativity, and quality arts experiences. But more than ever, arts education plays an important part in creating a level playing field for our children regardless of economic background.
According to Eric Cooper, the president and founder of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, arts education gives children from a financially challenged background the opportunity to share a more level playing field with affluent children, who statistically have more exposure to the arts in their daily lives (“Why Arts Education is Crucial,” edutopia.org). As the 2011 Report of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities argues, there is evidence from regular and longitudinal studies of general education that students who participate in arts programs are 4 times more likely to have high academic achievement, three times more likely to have high attendance, and more likely to be elected to class office. A 2009 longitudinal study that followed students into their twenties reported that “arts-engaged low-income students are more likely than their non-arts-engaged peers to have attended and done well in college, obtained employment with a future, volunteered in their communities and participated in the political process by voting” (Cattrall, 2009).
Arts education creates more level playing fields in education common core standards and character development, but it also provides skill development for future employment. Learning in the arts supports development of 21st Century skills such as team building, resourcefulness, resilience, reciprocity, flexibility, and problem solving, all skills that lead to an increased likelihood of graduation and opportunities for higher learning and/or a successful professional life. According to Champions of Change (2006), “The arts learning experiences…show remarkable consistency with the evolving workplace. Ideas are what matter, and the ability to generate ideas, to bring ideas to life and to communicate them is what matters in workplace success.”
Young Audiences WNY is proud to provide quality arts in education programming to ensure a more equal landscape for the children in our community.
Picture above: Kris Crosson leads a “Hands on Arts” workshop