Monthly Archives: February 2013

Initiative to Serve Waitlisted Schools & Community Partners

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After almost 8 years, Arts to Grow has demonstrated many positive outcomes for children from increased focus on core learning to better behavior. Shouldn’t all children have these critical opportunities?

Now the goal is to make this happen for 5,000 kids every year by substantially growing ATG’s capacity year by year over the next 5 years. Kicking off this growth phase is the Growing Innovative Youth initiative.The Growing Innovative Youth initiative is being lead by board member, Sheena White who is working with a team of Board and leadership volunteers.

Our starting point – raise $500,000 to serve 2,000 more students. To make this a reality, resources are needed to further subsidize our already low fees for partner schools and community organizations, hire more Teaching Artists, and a new program field manager to operationalize dozens of new programs.

Learn more about how Arts to Grow is impacting the lives of kids and how you can become a part of the solution. Join us at the upcoming Getting to know Arts to Grow event and thank you for your interest!

Please join us for a social gathering and meet our leaders and teachers at:
Getting to know Arts to Grow
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Exchange Bar and Grill
256 3rd Avenue, at 21st Street New York, New York 10003

For invitation and event details, please click here.

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TED xABQED discussed critical importance of art in education

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A few weeks ago, educators gathered in Albuquerque for the first New Mexico Ted conference to focus on education.  A few speakers argued for the critical importance of arts in education. 

Educator Gretchen Williams describes the magic that takes place when arts enter schools.  “It takes place in a room that usually smells like milk, a cafeteria, a gym, something of that nature, but the space is transformed through imagination.”  She argues that arts give students means to express themselves.  “The kids get swept up in this process, they are fully engaged.  There are no labels like ‘troublemaker’ or ‘wallflower’ or ‘athlete,’ even.”  And it’s in that kind of safe environment, which arts create, that magic happens and students develop a joy for learning. 

Denise Hinson, educator at Santa Fe Community College, explains, “I firmly believe that art is what makes us human, it is part of our special humanity.  And so if we take that equation out of schools, we are not creating full humans.”  She also encouraged educators to develop a passion for arts themselves, and bring that inspiration and joy back to the classrooms. 

ATG fills the gap left in our President’s challenge

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At Arts to Grow, we’re excited that the President continues to elevate the importance of a good education.  It was plainly evident during the State of the Union address.  

I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.

We are excited that schools are now energized to revise their curriculum that would allow our kids to stay competitive in this global economy.  While the President has publicly voiced his support for arts education in the past, this challenge fell short of asking for a redesign of our education system that would fully incorporating the arts.  Arts nurture creativity that fuels out-of-the-box thinking.  It is such thinking that will truly empower our kids to compete effectively in this global economy.  While it’s true that many manufacturing jobs are coming back to the States from aboard, in the end, our superior thinking is really our only competitive edge.  We will lead the world because we can innovate.  We can innovate because we are creative individuals. 

As our schools sharpen their focus toward STEM to answer our President’s challenge, Arts to Grow will continue to fill the gap that’s left.  Arts to Grow strives to provide the necessary art education for our kids.  We believe that we play a vital part toward our kids’ future success in this world.  We thank you for your support in our mission.


By Jeannie Chan, ATG Volunteer Social Media Manager.  When she’s not posting for ATG, Jeannie is passionate brand manager, fueled by intellectual curiosity and caffeine! Connect via Twitter @jeannie_chan.

Science through the lens of artists

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Sometimes, science can be best understood through the lens of an artists.  That’s the premises of the current exhibit at the Liberty Science Center “The Art of Science”.  This exhibit features 45 amazing photos depicted various subjects in science.  Organizers believe that art, in fact, holds the power to make science more accessible and understandable. 

 “When you include the arts in science and engineering and technology, you begin to have a whole different way of looking at problems and coming up with new and innovative solutions,” said Robert Morrison, President of Quadrant Arts Education Research.

The exhibit runs through March 17.  Check it out! 

Liberty Science Center is located at 222 Jersey City Blvd, (between Philip and Wilson Sts), Jersey City.  Exhibit is free with admission.

Source: lsc.org via Jeannie on Pinterest

Arts Education Foster Life-long Learning

African art class on 12/11/08

The goal of any education is to empower our children for future success – which generally means prepare them for gainful employment.  Any field of education is in itself meaningless if our children do not know how to apply what they learn in the real world.  And if we’re truthful to ourselves, we know that most of what we use in the real world we learn in the real world.  Therefore, to fully prepare our children, we need to arm them for life-long learning.

That’s why arts education is so vital in preparing our children for success.  Arts nurture both hemisphere of the brain.  Arts teach us new ways of thinking.  Arts teach collaboration and teamwork.  Arts give our children the fundamental skills needed for a lifetime of learning and to participate in society. 

This is the reasons why “arts integration” is getting more attention on a national level.  It is why government organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts are encouraging art and science collaboration to develop new courses, and perhaps even new curricula.  Our existing educational mix needs to be reexamined to ensure that all disciplines are integrated and that it’s fostering the skills needed for the new, knowledge-based global economy.

However, this is going to be a long process.  And our children cannot wait.  As schools reexamine their curriculums, programs such as Arts to Grow provide the much needed gap in arts education.  On the surface, our students are learning acting, music, drawing, etc., but underneath the surface, our students are learning confidence, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and more.  These are skills that will empower them to face the real world and to continue to learn well beyond their K-12 years. 

Is STEM enough for our children’s future?

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The nation’s attention on education has been focused on STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  However, it is our duty as parents and community leaders to ask – is it enough? 

STEM is important to compete in today’s world.  However, our schools have not yet achieved the level of excellence that would provide our children that competitive advantage.  U.S. students finished 25th in math and 17th in science in the ranking of 31 countries by the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD).  That is alarming.

Perhaps an optimized approach should be considered.  We ask should should change the acronym STEM to STEAM?  To stay ahead of the game in the 21st century, skills like collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication must be integrated into a STEM education.  These 21st century skills are inherently needed to success in today’s competitive world.  To this end, art education cannot be forgotten.  Arts teach exactly these skills that can empower our children to succeed in their chosen careers. 

Arts to Grow looks to play our part in this important mission of helping our children prepare for their future.  Click here to learn more about our arts programs and how you can support this important mission.

“Reflections” recognizes student artworks

Jana Mazzella - Award of Excellence

Artworks from students across the country are currently being shown at the Department of Education.  The exhibit features over 70 works by students from 38 states in preschool through grade 12 in all of the art forms.  The exhibit shows works from winners of the National PTA’s Reflection Competition. 

“We’re proud to host so many outstanding pieces of artwork that demonstrate these students’ creativity, dedication and passion,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Art can inspire those who admire it as much as those who create it and these reflections of what diversity means to these young artists are shining examples of the importance of arts as part of a well-rounded curriculum.”

The Reflection Program is one of the largest student arts recognition program in the country.  Since inception over 40 years ago, the program encourages students to explore their artistic talents.  The program demonstrates PTA’s belief that all children deserve a quality arts education and encourages students to pursue artistic expression.   The program offers students the opportunity to create works of art for fun and recognition. 

“As we see continued cuts in funding for the arts in education, it is important that we remind schools and families how the arts help children develop valuable skills that are essential to learning, resiliency and social and emotional development,” said Betsy Landers, National PTA President. “That’s why parents and teachers need to continue to encourage children to explore the arts.”

When asked what skills were developed through participation of the Reflections program, participant Polly Moser from Burleigh Manor Middle School PTA, Maryland replied, “Reflections has made me think more, made me branch out into other areas of talents that I really haven’t considered before. Music, as I have said before was definitely something I take pride in, but composing was a different matter. With the abounding support from my family, friends, and teachers, I finally made the decision to enter in the composition section of the contest. Reflections has also taught me persistence and patience. Throughout composing ‘The Flow of Water’, I constantly felt discouraged and impatient to finish. However, I learned that composing, like everything else in the world, had a gradual process, and that I must persevere despite everything to succeed.”

This year’s theme for the Reflection Program was “Diversity means…”  The award winning artworks will be on display at the Department of Education until February 24.  The artwork can also be viewed online at http://bit.ly/10mdadu. Video pieces can be seen at http://bit.ly/XqoZtP.

Artwork Featured: Jana Mazzella – Award of Excellence, “Handful of Peace and Diversity”, Paul E. Kirdahy at Captree Elementary PTA, West Islip, NY. PTA Reflections 2011-2012.