Each year, the cultural and education communities come together to celebrate the transformative power of the arts in education to transform our communities, schools, teaching, and learning. As our young people and educators return to school, we take time to reflect on the role of arts education in our lives and how it has contributed to making us the people we are today. The research is undeniable: when schools and communities embrace the arts - dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts - students benefit, educators are more effective, and learning communities are revolutionized.
Designated by Congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week is a celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. This year, we will be celebrating throughout the community from September 9-15, 2018, and I encourage all supporters of arts, culture, and education-as well as our elected officials and education leaders-to join with us!
The research is clear: youth who participate in the arts are more likely to be successful in school, college, and career than their peers who did not have arts education. However, the same research indicates a racial gap indicating that arts education is an equity issue and an issue of racial justice in America.
In order to reap the benefits of arts-rich schools and arts-infused communities for all members, we must focus on increasing access, particularly for students who are typically disenfranchised. Additionally, we must focus our efforts on broadening and diversifying the leadership pipeline, so that our arts educators, cultural program leaders, and our community's artists reflect the communities in which they are working.
As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should take pause to cheer for our accomplishments, but also remember the work we have to do. How can we support parents, families, and the community in providing more opportunities for arts education? It's up to us-the arts education community-to take a stand and take the lead - and we can start during National Arts in Education Week.