Every day that I work as a Teaching Artist is another day that I see the positive changes that art can bring to students, teachers, schools, and communities. Whether it’s with 5 year olds learning about spiders and the various environments that they can live in; or 7th graders learning how to use mandala art to calm down and reflect on their memories; or with women in recovery to learn new confidence and business skills… art helps healing, expression, connection and communication to happen within and between communities.
I know that art as a career path is not for everyone. However, creativity through the arts is a requirement for a well-rounded life, and perfect training for the creative problem-solving and analysis that our busy lives and jobs require. For people like me who learn visually and require hands-on elements to lessons, art can be the subject that connects us to new skills, experiences and confidence. There are so many “a-ha!” moments in my classrooms from students who just needed a topic to be presented in a visual way.
The arts are also an economic drive for local, regional and national economies. According to the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA),” Every $1 of NEA funding leverages $9 in private and public dollars and fuels a dynamic cultural economy and generates millions of American jobs. ” Also, “Arts strengthen the economy. The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, which represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture. ” (Source: http://www.americansforthearts.org/news-room/arts-mobilization-center/statement-on-arts-jobs-and-the-economy)
Please join me and millions of other people across the United States in advocating for the arts. On a national level, the Americans for the Arts group has fantastic resources, petitions and Facts Sheets you can use to educate yourself and develop letters, phone calls scripts, etc… to get your voice heard about the arts!
If you live in Pennsylvania, then please go to the Citizens for the Arts website. On April 25, 2017, I will be joining hundreds of advocates around the state in Harrisburg to meet with our state legislators. Find out here who your state reps are: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/index.cfm If your legislators are Wayne Fontana, or Dom Costa, then feel free to send me a note about how the arts positively affects your life using the Contact link above on my website. I will bring your story to my meeting and present it to our legislators. If your PA state legislators are not the above, then contact them directly to tell them your positive art story!