I attended an amazing talk yesterday by Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center in DC. What an amazing and creative thinker! He is currently touring, leading arts management symposia in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico the District of Columbia. If you have a chance to hear him, do so!
Although most of his talk was directed specifically to arts organizations, there were pearls for teaching artists, teachers, parents, and members of the community at large.
Someone asked, “How do I convince others that arts education is important.?” Mr. Kaiser mentioned four:
1. Economic Impact: 70% of tourists from Europe are cultural tourists. They go where the interesting visual and performing art is.
2. We are in a creative economy. Only 17% of the business in the US is from manufacturing! Businesses need creative problem solvers. [For a wonderful video that illustrates this visually and verbally, go to: http://www.therightbraininitiative.org/
3. Improved math and reading test scores. In one metropolitan area that added arts education, studies show an improvement of 5-19%!
4. Impact on teens and pre-teens. Mr. Kaiser specifically mentioned dance. Dance teaches students to respect their bodies, which in turn leads to them making choices that care for their bodies. [Even from a purely cold, economic viewpoint, that’s an obvious savings in social costs. Any teacher of visual arts, theatre, writing and music can give you equally persuasive arguments.]
It's been awhile since I've written in this blog. I've been working in the schools, playing with language through songwriting, introducing ideas from a variety of cultures, creating and developing awareness and appreciation of different kinds of people and ways of being. I'm committed to sharing my experiences and observations. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.