Advocacy

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This page from ARTLex website contains current advocacy information that reinforces the significant role Art plays within the school curriculum.



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Advocacy or arts advocacy - Advocacy is the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, an idea, or a policy. Active support. This term is often used to refer to efforts to support specific art disciplines, or organizations, etc., as well as of support for the arts in general.

The benefits associated with participation in the arts are both intrinsic (valuable in themselves) and instrumental (in promoting achievements in other disciplines, social and economic spheres), and that they are valuable in both private and public ways. See the Framework for Understanding the Benefits of the Arts from McCarthy's (2005) Gifts of the Muse, a RAND Corporation study funded by the Wallace Foundation.

Arts education talking points:

1. The arts are central to life long learning.

  • We are surrounded by the arts. Our clothing, cars and homes reflect complex and expressive design. We hear music throughout the day. TV and cinema are filled with dance and drama. More and more we go to museums, to the theater, music and dance performances.
  • The arts have been central to every culture past and present. Often the best way to understand other societies is through their arts. The arts are a reflection of our society. They inform and engage us, both subtly and deeply, and give meaning to our shared experiences.

2. A comprehensive, sequential arts education is essential for all students.

  • Students can develop unique expressive skills through their creation of the arts, and the arts present ways for students with differing learning styles and abilities to "find their voices."
  • The arts present a powerful way for students to perceive the world around them. Thinking starts with the ability to perceive.
  • Experience with the arts transfers to and strengthens basic thinking skills in a variety of areas, e.g., spatial-temporal thinking for higher level mathematical reasoning (research by Gardiner and Shaw), language and analytical thinking needed for verbal thinking and communication.
  • Experiences in creating the arts are highly motivating ways for students to develop social / group skills, e.g., collaboration, loyalty, responsibility, reliability, respect for others and their work.
  • Many state school boards have mandated all arts for all students through junior high, and proficiency in one art form for high school graduation.

3. The arts should be integrated into the curriculum and taught as independent disciplines.

  • Dance, theater, and the visual arts are each a distinct discipline and students must learn to critique and understand the role of each in society. They should also be introduced to creating in each art form.
  • The arts are basic to the study of social studies and language arts since they are found in all social contexts and are a means of communication.
  • The arts are a highly motivating method for students to learn about many subjects including math, science and foreign languages.

4. Arts education prepares students for the workplace.

  • There are many well-paying, interesting job opportunities in the arts, or that use an arts background in the technology / communications and entertainment industries and in education.
  • Business seeks students with arts degrees because they have developed valuable reasoning, creating and communication skills.

5. Arts education prepares students for college.

  • The U.S. Department of Education recommends that college bound middle school, junior high and high school students study the arts. Many universities require one high school arts credit for admission. The skills and behaviors students need to learn for successful job performance are directly impacted by their training in the arts.

Research shows:

  • A 1998 study by the Arts Education Research Center at NYU argues that achievement test scores in academic subjects improve when the arts are used to assist learning in mathematics, creative writing, and communication skills. ("Theory and Practice in Arts Education: A Report on the National Arts Education Research Center at New York University" by Jerrold Ross. ERIC #: ED356977)
  • Arts Rich Schools had a 3% lower dropout rate before graduation than Arts Poor Schools. (Champions of Change)
  • The writing quality of elementary students was consistently and significantly improved by using drawing and drama techniques that allowed the students to experiment, evaluate, revise and integrate ideas before writing began, thus significantly improving results. (B.H. Moore and H. Caldwell)
  • High-risk elementary students with one year in the arts-unfused "Different Ways of Knowing" program gained eight percentile points on standardized language arts tests; students with two years in the program gained 16 percentile points. Non-program students showed no percentile gain in language arts. (J.S. Catterall)
  • Share info about other research — contact ArtLex.
  • "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."
    John Adams (1735-1826), America's second president, wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail from Paris, while on a diplomatic mission to the France during America's Revolutionary War, July, 1780.

  • "Art in all its distinct forms defines, in many ways, those qualities that are at the heart of education reform — creativity, perseverance, a sense of standards, and above all, a striving for excellence."
    Richard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education under President William Clinton.

  • Americans for the Arts has been running rousing campaigns in the mass media, leading with such questions as "There's not enough art in our schools. No wonder people think Martha Graham is a snack cracker." And, ". . . No wonder people say 'Gesundheit' when you say 'Tchaikovsky.' " Take a good look at their varied and ongoing art advocacy.


  • Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts is a 2005 study by Kevin F. McCarthy and others at RAND, commissioned by The Wallace Foundation. It is now available as a freely downloadable pdf file, either in summary or in full.

    Abstract:

    During the past decade, arts advocates have relied on an instrumental approach to the benefits of the arts in arguing for support of the arts. This report evaluates these arguments and asserts that a new approach is needed. This new approach offers a more comprehensive view of how the arts create private and public value, underscores the importance of the arts’ intrinsic benefits, and links the creation of benefits to arts involvement.


    Gifts of the Muse
    responds to the prevailing view that in the public realm, the arts are an instrument for achieving broad social and economic goals (economic growth, improved student learning, community revitalization), while the intrinsic benefits have been viewed as only of private, personal value. Gifts of the Muse is a powerful tool for those involved in public policymaking, because of its findings that the intrinsic benefits of the arts provide the foundation for the creation of instrumental benefits. It argues that the purely "instrumental" approach ignores key benefits that are created uniquely by arts experiences, and is a springboard for discussion about a new approach which recognizes the continuum between intrinsic benefits and instrumental benefits, asserts that the intrinsic benefits must be created in order for instrumental benefits to be realized, examines how both are connected to creating public value, and how benefits are linked to public participation.

  • The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is the principal organization for school administrators in the United States. "In the Front Row - The Arts Give Students a Ticket to Learning" is an article by Rick Allen in the spring 2004 issue of ASCD's jounal Curriculum Update. Rick Allen writes that, "Although the visual arts, music, and theater might seem locked in a losing battle with other subjects for money and time in schools, experts say that a strong case still can be made for increasing the arts in schools. Eric Jensen, author of the ASDC book Arts with the Brain in Mind, argues that the arts should be a major discipline in the schools -- 'one worth making everybody study and learn.'" Not only can the arts be a powerful solution for helping educators reach a wide range of learners, they also "enhance the process of learning" by developing a student's "integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities," writes Jensen. Such brain systems are the driving forces behind all other learning, he adds. Rick Allen writes that although reading and math may grab the headlines, arts education advocates retain a long-term optimism as they push for arts integration, professional development, and community partnerships to advance their cause.
  • Keep Arts In Schools is a project for the Ford Foundation, for which Douglas Gould & Company is developing messages and conducting opinion research to determine how best to frame arts education for advocates who seek to build a constituency for lasting change. KeepArtsInSchools.org features the work they have executed to date on this project and seeks to arm advocates with the tools and resources they need to be more effective in their work and in their communications to keep arts education in public schools.

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Optimizing America's Cultural Resources is Pew's largest national cultural initiative ever. Begun in 2000, its goal is to strengthen political and financial support for nonprofit culture by building an infrastructure for the development of more effective private and public policies affecting American arts and culture. This will be a five-year, multi-million-dollar effort. "Art and culture are the second largest export in America after technology," said Marian A. Godfrey, director of The Culture program for The Pew Charitable Trusts. "And while culture plays a significant role in the American economy-contributing between three and six percent of the gross domestic product we have no organizing framework for this remarkable cultural richness and no overall context in which to understand and nurture it." The main goal of this initiative is to usher in a new era of cultural policy development to ensure that the cultural heritage and artistic resources of the USA are appropriately sustained and supported. "We hope to make available, for the first time, a new level of comprehensive, fact-based information on America's cultural life. This information can guide a more meaningful and, we hope, a broader dialogue on the role of arts and culture in our society," said Stephen K. Urice, the officer of Pew's Culture program with responsibility for the new initiative. "We are reinforcing the idea that the arts are a necessary and vital part of the health of our society." The research component of the initiative consists of gathering, developing and evaluating data on American arts and culture. The RAND research study will address the absence of comprehensive data on the arts by compiling an information compendium that would include databases, research studies and other literature on the performing, visual and literary arts and the major disciplines within each of these branches. Envisioned as a key element of the Trusts' research strategy would be the creation of a national cultural information exchange. The exchange would serve as a repository and resource for cultural statistics, sponsor rigorous research and conduct polling.It would deliver its information to opinion leaders and policy-makers through the media, cultural service organizations and professional publications. Promoting a more informed and broader dialogue of the importance of arts and culture to our society is another major objective of the strategy. The Trusts will build on their current support of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, established in 1993 to increase the quantity and quality of arts reporting, by encouraging the development of arts and culture news programming on public, cable and commercial broadcasting. The Trusts will also seek to strengthen the advocacy capacity of the arts sector by partnering with other cultural organizations and grantmakers. Recognizing governmental and foundations' demands for greater accountability, the Trusts will work closely with cultural institutions and their service organizations to strengthen institutions' capacities to evaluate the results and impact of their programs and activities. It will also seek ways to assist the cultural community to develop the leadership that will be needed to maintain a strong and vibrant future.

  • The Arizona Alliance for Arts Education has posted several arts education advocacy pieces and also publishes a newsletter. Here's an image this group and the Arizona Art Education Association have printed on posters, postcards, T-shirts, etc. It has also been presented as an award to those who support arts education.

  • ArtsUSA: American Council for the Arts offers various arts advocacy resources.
  • ArtsEdge at The Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington, DC.
  • The Arts Education Partnership. The Arts Education Partnership has published a book on arts education titled Third Space. Third Space tells the story of the profound changes in the lives of kids, teachers, and parents in 10 economically disadvantaged communities across the country that place their bets on the arts as a way to create great schools.
  • Artslynx International Arts Resources
  • National Art Education Association
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Princeton Online

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