In many disadvantaged urban areas, children and teens lack access to the kinds of rich and ongoing experiences with the arts that are available to young people from higher income communities, both in school and outside of the classroom. Many of these models are based on new findings in brain research and cognitive development, and they embrace a variety of approaches: using the arts as a learning tool (for example, musical notes to teach fractions); incorporating arts into other core classes (writing and performing a play about, say, slavery); creating a school environment rich in arts and culture (Mozart in the hallways every day) and hands-on arts instruction.
Others come with specific academic or professional interests: using the arts as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients, arts integration, the design of after-school arts programs, the use of the arts with incarcerated populations, or promoting intercultural understanding through the arts.
Artwork ranges from pieces developed individually such Sarah Lee’s tactile three-dimensional clay ‘sketches’, inspired by the recent fire at the 16th-century Wythenshawe Hall, to collaborative works such as Yes Lad, Yes Lass (2016) by artists Barry Anthony Finan and Rosanne Robertson, a poignant mixed media video installation.
Public schools (pre-Kindergarten – grade 12), principals, teachers, alternative education sites for special needs students, cultural organizations with arts education programs for schools, community service organizations that provide arts programming, individuals trained to implement arts education programs, and professional artists interested in working in educational settings.
This statement articulates the purpose and value of arts education in the balanced curriculum of all students, asserts its place as a core academic subject area, and details how sequential arts learning can be supported by rigorous national standards and assessments.