Design and innovation impact every aspect of the world around us. Everything made by humanity has been designed in some way. Sometimes the design is intentional and elegant; many times it is unintentional and far from optimal.
This is one of many reasons why integrating arts is so important to our children’s education. Arts nurture skills like creativity. Arts reinforce the search for perfection when there is no definitive right answers. Arts teach skills that a traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum cannot achieve.
This is one of the topics being discussed at the World Economic Forum. Creativity is vital to improving the well-being of our world and of our future. Creativity creates well-rounded individuals. Creativity underpin out-of-the-box thinking that can in fact fuel technological innovations. And it is creativity that will empower us to redesign an education system that would be suit the true needs of our future economy.
Jamal Rossi, an academic leader, recently shared his view on the challenges of being an art educator. The nation continues to focus on a traditional curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), despite the acknowledged importance of an arts education. The lack of focus on arts in education is shortchanging our kids. This is particularly true for inner-city kids, where funding for arts education is often cut at their schools. Without a solid education foundation, that includes arts, our kids are not given the best chance to succeed in this increasingly demanding economy.
The creativity that comes from integrating arts into public education is critical to creating leaders in all fields who can think outside of the box and express their ideas in a variety of platforms. Early education programs that ask students to think about more than facts, numbers and dates will aid them in higher-level thinking that is necessary to succeed later on. By allowing students the opportunity for self- and creative expression, arts programs provide a framework for individuals to be innovators and forward-thinkers.
Clifford Dukes, joins as Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee and Team Leader for Youth I.N.C Celebration program, he began volunteering with ATG in late 2011.
Clifford’s passion in educating youth comes from a deep desire to help create a better world. “History has demonstrated that ignorance is fertile ground for hatred and injustice. Improving education is the best tool I have encountered to break cycles of entrenched unfairness and to bring disparate peoples together, united by their shared humanity,” he said. A graduate from Amherst College, Clifford, began volunteering with Arts to Grow in late 2011 and joined the board in October 2012. Clifford believes that the best way to influence our youth is through access to excellent education for all .
Mickey Slevin joins Arts To Grow as Treasurer. Mickey began volunteering with ATG in June 2012.
Through his involvement with ATG, Mickey says he would like to focus on something that falls close to his heart. “Mostly I would like to help the program achieve its growth initiatives. The more schools that can host arts programs, the more children we can assist and educate,” he said. A Boston University graduate, Mickey is Director of Finance for FilmBUff working in independent film distribution. Exposure to the arts played a part in his personal accomplishments. “I grew up with a fantastic arts education that has contributed to my own success, and wish others to have the same opportunities,” he said.
Sheena White, joins as Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee and Team Leader for Growing Innovative Youth Initiative, she began volunteering with ATG in June 2012.
Sheena has spent years volunteering and mentoring youth. “My main goal in working with Arts to Grow is to partner with an amazing team of people to deliver arts programming to students in the NY and urban NJ areas. I am inspired by ATG’s mission and truly believe that as a group we can impact many children,” she said. Sheena holds an M.B.A from the University of Chicago and a B.S from Villanova University; Sheena is a Strategic Planner at American Express. She looks back at her own childhood experience in the performing arts as a road that led her to learning patience and focus.
2013 marks our 2nd year as partners of the Youth I.N.C. Celebration Program. Our new Board member, Clifford Dukes will lead the Co-Chair team with a focus on engaging corporate involvement in our programs and sponsorships of $1,000+. This investment of leadership and resources will make a significant impact in the community, providing hundreds of kids who lack access to excellence in education the opportunity to learn and grow creatively and developmentally towards a successful future.
Youth I.N.C.’s Celebration Program is a service grant that provides partnering organizations with a wealth of opportunities including ongoing consulting, board and staff training, as well as peer learning and sharing of best practices. Over the last 18 years Youth, I.N.C.’s Celebration Program has helped 100 nonprofit organizations raise over $14.6 million, serving as a catalyst for their long-term growth and successfully expanding youth services to thousands more of our areas most vulnerable children. We are honored to be part of the Youth I.N.C. family of youth serving nonprofits.
Educators across the country are fighting for budgets to keep arts in school. Arts are not unnecessary in today’s education curriculum. In fact, arts are fundamental to learning. In arts, students learn to connect. Students connect ideas, other disciplines and the world at large. This is because in arts, students learn how to solve a problem when there is no one right answer.
Beyond the obvious societal skills that may be important in our children’s development into productive adults, arts teach something much more fundamental that’s vital to our children’s growth as a person. Arts help our student make sense of today’s complicated world. Arts teach open mind. Arts also provide a universal language across cultures and social classes. Arts allow our students to express themselves in a safe environment and share their own opinions and stories. Arts teach an appreciation for beauty. And for underserved kids like those we value and love at Arts to Grow, the world is often ugly. So, wouldn’t you agree that appreciate for beauty is an important skill to learn?
Click here to check out one educator’s passionate plead.