Arts Advocacy 101: It’s simple, really
Ryan Summerlin August 19, 2013
How can you be an arts advocate?
With every “how,” there is a “why?” Are you wondering why you should be an advocate for the arts? Many studies have shown over and over that including arts — both visual and performing — in a child’s education helps children learn.
Involvement in the arts increases student engagement and encourages consistent attendance. Students who participate in the arts are three times more likely to win an award for school attendance than those who do not. Many times this column has been devoted to the various ways that art is a valuable part of education.
You would not have to look hard to find articles citing the statistics and reasons that including art education benefits our youth. Check out the Arts For the Schools website for past articles.
Children are not the only beneficiaries of art, communities also benefit from art.
Again, many studies have shown higher civic engagement results from visual and performance art installments. Arts are fundamental to humanity, they help you express your values and bridge the gap between cultures. Arts inspire and empower: fostering creativity, goodness and beauty.
Now that you’ve been reminded why the arts are important, here’s the “how.”
And it won’t be hard. No special tools are required. You are probably already doing it. Do you have kids in school? Do you hang their art projects on the fridge? You are an advocate. Talk to your kids about their art and how it makes them feel. Tell them about your favorite art project from your school days.
Did you go to your kid’s class performance and send photos to the family? You did it again, you are spreading the good feeling of performance art. You empowered your kids, you helped them grow, you made Grandma and Grandpa proud, and they shared it with their friends.
Have you been to any of the free concerts around the Truckee/North Tahoe area this summer? Just by showing up, you are advocating for the arts. You are participating in a community of neighbors and visitors who appreciate music and performers, it’s that civic engagement thing mentioned above.
You just show up and enjoy yourself, then tell your friends and coworkers what a great time you had and maybe they want to join you next time. You joined in, you shared, you advocated.
None if this is hard, right? All you have to do is keep it up, share your support of art education in school. Talk with your kids, keep giving them opportunities to create, to appreciate and to enjoy all kinds of art. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about upcoming art displays and performances and go to them.
Arts for the Schools OnStage performance season will begin in October, consider the purchase of an individual or family season pass. If you enjoy the arts and support visual and performing arts, you are an advocate. This might be a very simple way to look at advocacy for the arts, and of course there is way more you can do, but do it. Share your support, be involved, be an arts advocate at every opportunity.
Arts For the Schools provides high quality arts learning in our schools, and presents world-class musicians, dancers and other live performances for the community at large. AFtS uses the power of art to promote artistic expression, increase understanding of other cultures and foster a lifelong appreciation of the creative arts for children and families in our community. With the 30th season of Arts for the School activities and programs about to begin, you will have many chances to practice advocacy for the arts.
For more information on Arts For the Schools programs, please visit www.artsfortheschools.org.
Paula Rachuy is a member of the Arts For the Schools Board of Trustees.
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