Our education system is the bedrock institution that promotes curiosity, debate and progress. There’s a lot we need to do to make sure our K-12 system is the best it can be. And within that, I want to highlight one area that is consistently and unfortunately deemphasized – arts education.
This might sound silly to some, but I think there's a basic question many keep in the back of their heads: why is it important that every child receives arts education?
I’m gonna take a crack at explaining:
- Art fuels critical and creative thinking. Our world needs true leaders to generate real solutions. We face new challenges every day and cannot rely on tried, outdated ideas. Arts education is the ultimate creative workshop that pushes one to think new, to think fresh. Through this critical thinking, we are forced to look past obvious answers thus generate real ones.
- Art promotes collaboration. Open competition provides many benefits, but we must recognize no single individual has all of the answers. By working with others, especially those from different backgrounds, we can appreciate different perspectives and achieve the best outcome. As a creative process, art naturally brings people together and promotes collaborative behavior.
- In art, there is no right or wrong answer. We as a human species are naturally afraid of being wrong. This fear suppresses our best ideas within and prevents us from taking chances and learning from mistakes. Art is a vehicle that enables the exploration of ideas beyond the realms of “right and wrong” by removing this prohibitive risk element.
- Art provides a positive outlet for emotional expression. Underprivileged communities are the ones typically lacking arts education, and their young people fall subject to “non-productive” activities as a means to express their emotions in an unjust world. Arts can not only heal but help identify these injustices in the first place.
- Art tackles social injustice. By creating and analyzing art, it produces a sense of critical reflection about our society, environment, and people. Through that process, it develops our empathy to these macro issues, which in turn allows us to question the current social order and identify inequalities anywhere. We can then translate this knowledge into incremental discussion or art forms as a means of spreading awareness, tolerance and solutions.
- Art is fun, art is cool. Well…DUH :)
Because arts education is a critical component of a progressive education system, it makes me SO PROUD to be part of Performing Arts Workshop. For over 50 years, PAW has promoted critical thinking, creative expression and learning skills through the arts. Today we serve over 4,000 students placed at risk in 100 schools throughout the SF Bay Area.
Last year, you all helped me raise over $3200 to help ignite young minds. Let’s shatter that record and support the next generation of leaders to build a more open-minded society. I am anchoring a new campaign to help kick things off. So now, more than ever, if you believe every child should receive the education they deserve, please donate to PAW today to join the good fight. Thank you!!!
PERFORMING ARTS WORKSHOP INC wrote -
We need your help to reach over 4,000 Bay Area students with powerful arts education programs this year. Why does this work matter? Serena’s story can show you.
Performing Arts Workshop teaching artist Chinchin Hsu taught creative movement at St. Joseph’s Family Center, a shelter for families here in San Francisco. It was there that she met Serena, a shy student, recovering from early trauma, uncomfortable with physical contact, and reluctant to participate in classroom activities. However, with Chinchin as her teacher and the Workshop methodology as their guide, Serena became comfortable enough to dance with Chinchin as partners. In Chinchin’s words:
“Serena shared with me that the one space she felt safe and free was when she was imagining; dance created a bridge between imagination and the physical world, a bridge she was able to cross.
“Serena has continued to bravely dance her way into the world; this year she plans to join the Carnaval Festival performance in school. I am so glad we were there at St Joseph’s Family Center when Serena needed us.”
Chinchin’s words above explain why your contribution to Performing Arts Workshop means so much. With the rising cost of living, widening income disparity, and endangerment for those students experiencing discrimination based on race, documentation status, and family income level, Bay Area students have never needed or deserved our investment more. Your gift will change lives today, and will contribute to shaping bright futures for tomorrow.
Will you give today? (If you’re still wondering, read below.)
1. Data analysis by our outside evaluator confirms that after a Performing Arts Workshop residency, students show statistically relevant gains in:
+ Independent thinking
+ Ability to reflect and evaluate
+ Engagement in the classroom
+ Clear communication of thoughts and feelings
2. Almost a third of schools in California have no music, dance, theatre, media arts or visual arts available whatsoever, which is a travesty.
3. Performing Arts Workshop prioritizes working with students with less access to arts education. Workshop residencies are placed in schools, afterschool centers, homeless shelters, and juvenile halls to serve the students who need and deserve it most.
Interested in learning more? Visit http://performingartsworkshop.org/.