Celebrating National Arts in Education Week 2021
September 17, 2021
This week we celebrate National Arts in Education Week. Recently I came across an article by Americans for the Arts that highlights 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2021. I encourage you to check out the article. After reading it, the ten reasons make so much sense but I want to highlight two that resonated with me.
- Arts Unify Communities – 72% of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 73% agree that the arts “help me understand other cultures better.”
Perpich Center for Arts Education strives to create community among the people we work with on a daily basis. The Perpich community extends statewide, connecting school districts with Professional Development Resource staff and on campus with the Arts High School. Our mission is to provide all Minnesota students the opportunity to develop, enhance, and integrate their artistic and academic abilities to their highest potential. While the pandemic has challenged all of us in many ways, the arts have been a beacon of hope in helping us understand other cultures from different perspectives. The arts have been a resource for reducing anxiety and stress which can lead to less feelings of isolation with COVID-19.
An outgrowth of the pandemic was an opportunity to think critically about how we can live together on planet earth. The Perpich Vision Statement encourages one to fuse an artistic passion and academic excellence into producing creative critical thinkers. The second top ten reason to support the arts that resonated with me:
- Arts Spark Creativity and Innovation – Creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged as an arts maker than other scientists.
Arts High Principal, Conn McCartan, reminds parents and students that not all students become artists after graduation. They migrate into other fields of study but carry with them a skillset as critical thinkers using the creative skills learned at Perpich. I feel a good demonstration of students using creativity and critical thinking skills was on display at the opening exhibition this fall called Active Reactions – Self Portrait Exhibition. That evening, there was an exhibition of visual arts projects, literary arts readings, dance performances, and media arts screenings.
Reflecting on the outset of the pandemic, some of the assumptions on how and where we educate students were challenged in a big way. Although we are not sure yet what the future holds for education, we continue to learn the importance of arts in our lives.
Dr. Charles Rick
Executive Director, Perpich Center for Arts Education
National Arts in Education Week is a national celebration recognizing the transformative power of the arts in education. Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week that follows the second Sunday of September as National Arts in Education Week. The celebration is intended to bring attention to the cause of arts education across the country and to support equitable access to the arts for all learners. At Perpich Center for Arts Education, Minnesota’s state agency dedicated to arts education, this week’s celebration is an opportunity to talk about our work that happens everyday.