Arts education is essential to create well-rounded, capable,
creative individuals. Programs in music, drama, visual arts, dance,
and other creative expressions help students to be motivated to learn –
not just in school, but in life.
But arts education is being driven out by school budget cuts – and
by the demands of standardized tests. Teachers must justify every
field trip and activity in terms of measurable results for specific
learning objectives, leaving little room for experiences than enrich
life and nurture possibility. As a result, most cultural institutions
have experienced a significant drop in school attendance.
To put art back in student lives, the Cultural Alliance has two
approaches. The first is collaborative marketing to make it easier for
teachers to connect with and take advantage of arts programming in
cultural institutions. We will create synergistic packages of
educational programs from multiple arts organizations – for example, a
seventh grade science program, or fourth grade community history.
Instead of competing for teacher attention, we will pool arts education
staff time to reach out to more teachers more effectively.
In 2008 we hope to launch a Cultural Education website. Teachers
will be able to use a searchable database of field trips, curriculum,
outreach programs, and other arts activities, with “one stop shopping”
to connect them to a broad array of the wonderful arts programs that
The second approach is to expand into new markets – moving arts
education from schools to the community at large. How are the needs of
home schoolers or after-school programs different, and what can arts
organizations do to meet their needs? Summer camps, Boy and Girl
Scouts, Junior Achievement, and many other youth programs are also good
ways to give young people arts experiences. Our Cultural Education
committee is also exploring the needs of seniors and other special
audiences. it is our goal to work with all parts of the community to
bring the arts into everyone’s life.
The key is providing easy access to information, and listening to
our customers to create arts programming that meets the needs of
today’s young people – and all people.
Almost two-thirds of Americans think arts education should have a
high priority. The Cultural Alliance is working to make that priority
actionable, and accessible to all.