Thursday, August 14, 2008

Four Ways to Influence Arts Education

This morning one of my daughters e-mailed a YouTube video about “Raisin Brahms.”
It's a short commercial from the Americans for the Arts campaign, and it was so cute I checked out their website, where I found a lot of helpful, interesting information.
For instance, did you know that (according to the website's Quick Facts) “Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement . . . 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools . . . 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair . . . 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance . . . 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.
As a grandparent I believe these opportunities are important for children. And as a grandparent I have several opportunities to make a difference in the lives of my grandchildren, as well as all the children in our community -- and that's important for many reasons, not least because those children are my grandchildren's peer group.
Here are four ways grandparents can influence the arts opportunities our grandchildren have:
* Act as advocates for the arts in our community, including working with local school boards to be sure there is adequate funding, resources and equipment for arts programs.
* Patronize exhibits, concerts, shows, and art sales in the local community. A thriving arts community will demonstrate opportunities for artists.
* If you've ever played an instrument, drawn or painted a picture, or written a short story or poem, keep at it! When your grandchildren see you working at these things, it legitimizes them. When they see you having fun with them, it encourages your grandchild to try them, too!
* If you're an artist, volunteer your skill and talent to your local school, church, or community group. The more art there is around your grandchildren, the more artists they know, the more they'll be inspired to find the artist within themselves.

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