Arts: Everywhere and Every Day
“Arts Every Day; Not Just Tuesday.” What a novel idea, right? That statement was made on May 25th, when we convened 8-12-year-old students from Belle Grove Elementary and Brooklyn Park Middle School, at the Chesapeake Arts Center for a conversation around what they wanted to experience in school.
This conversation was one of six conversations we convened as part of Arts Empowered Minds, a new initiative focused on getting students in Northern Anne Arundel County access to high-quality arts education opportunities. 52 people, including students, parents, police, artists, educators, and members of faith organizations and the business community joined us to learn about Arts Empowered Minds and to tell us what matters to them.
Here is what they learned: We believe, and research studies show, that arts-rich schools and communities thrive. Arts Empowered Minds aims to improve educational opportunities and outcomes by increasing student access to the arts and arts integrated learning in Northern Anne Arundel County.
Here is what we learned: There is a desire for Arts Empowered Minds to do this work, there are incredible assets that we can leverage, and —while there are potential barriers to success— the public will is there. The will is there to use the arts to fully engage kids in all classes, not just the art room. We heard this desire loud and clear from students: “I wish we could move around more in class,” “I wish our teachers could make us like school,” and classes that keep “my mind active.”
The desire is not limited to the classroom. Participants want the arts to be used beyond the “academic” benefit and as part of the everyday routine, helping kids become great citizens in their schools and communities– with empathy, creative problem solving and communication. Teachers dreamed of a more respectable classroom and our kids dreamed of safe places with no bullying.
To learn more, see our communication plan HERE
Are you interested in Arts Empowered Minds or do you know someone in Northern Anne Arundel County — a business, a government agency, a resident, who would want to connect to our initiative? If so, please forward them this article and have them contact Emily Norris at [email protected]. Arts Empowered Minds is still in its planning phase and is looking for input and volunteers.
Arts Empowered Minds is “powered” by its partners: Young Audiences/Arts for Learning of Maryland (YA), Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS), Chesapeake Arts Center (CAC), Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS), and University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC). We are grateful that Arts Empowered Minds was one of seven collective initiatives to be funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.