In response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts, national organizations are pushing for advocacy with the national “Arts ARE Education” campaign. Last spring, 111 organizations endorsed the National Association for Music Education’s “Arts Education is Essential” statement. The new initiative furthers the original goals.
“When we signed onto the Arts Education is Essential statement, we didn’t imagine we’d still be in this situation a year later,” says James Palmarini, director of educational policy for the Educational Theatre Association and a manager of the national campaign. “The Arts ARE Education campaign was the next step.”
The campaign advocates for the arts as a core subject, not as a luxury, and one that’s especially important in the challenging environment that students continue to face. “More than ever, we believe that the arts are key in helping students who have been traumatized by the events of the last year reenter the in-person learning environment,” Palmarini says.
The Arts ARE Education campaign goes beyond a statement, enabling people to take action in support of arts education via three different avenues.
- Any person or organization can pledge to “actively support sustainable, equitable access to arts education programs for all students,” and “encourage the sustainment or expansion of curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular instruction in all arts areas.”
- It also provides a resolution, a customizable series of “whereas” statements, intended for school boards to adopt.
- The last pillar of the campaign encourages people to write letters to legislators. The campaign facilitates the process with editable templates and a tool that quickly finds your legislators for you.
The Arts ARE Education campaign has seen widespread success so far. San Diego, California, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, are just two of the large school districts that have adopted the resolution. The campaign has also received more than 2,000 pledges and helped send more than 500 legislator letters as of March 4.
“This campaign is national in scope, but it’s grassroots in action,” Palmarini says.
Find out more about the Arts ARE Education campaign at artsareeducation.org.