Arts education has been slipping for more than three decades in our nation, leaving our children without the tools or space to express themselves through art, explore or think freely. As someone for whom as a child, arts was the only way out – the eroding funding and declining interest from our public officials to support arts education is a truly disheartening sight.
Something needed to be done about it– and here is what I did: in 2011, with little more than a bag full of art supplies and a borrowed office space in Harlem, I began ProjectArt – a space where children and youth can create art limitlessly, for free. Soon, the friends became teachers, parents became volunteers and kids became students. In three years, ProjectArt’s year-round, after-school visual arts education program has served hundreds while its public awareness initiative, Walk the Talk, has brought awareness for the critical need of arts education, to hundreds of thousands online. Visit us and get involved: projectart.org
But this is just a dent against the ongoing cuts in NYC public schools that disenfranchise an already thinly funded access to the arts for our children. There are still hundreds of thousands of children who due to policies like No Child Left Behind, emphasis on STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) and standardized testing, have no choice but to endure an education system disinterested in their holistic growth or preparing them to be creative and conscientious global citizens.
So, why is art, so crucial to a child’s development? Consider the facts: numerous conclusive studies by research institutions such as the Center for Arts Education and Americans for the Arts, have asserted that students who participate in the arts outperform their peers on virtually every measure. Arts Education Partnership’s Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (1999) contends “learning in and through the arts can help ‘level the playing field’ for youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances”. Simply put, an investment in arts education is a smart and strategic one.
ProjectArt aims to address these needs as widely and deeply as we can. We also believe all initiatives that bring arts education to kids should be supported – with volunteers, interns, donations etc. Now more than ever, the kids need your support. Let’s make a smart choice for our children’s future by supporting an arts education institution today.
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