National Arts in Education Week

Celebrate the arts during National Arts in Education Week September 9-15th by sharing your stories about how the arts have impacted your life. Indicate #BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek and tag Prairie Music & Arts @prairiemusicandarts on Facebook and @PMASunPrairie on Twitter.

On December 22, 2010, Congress designated the second week in September as National Arts in Education Week. The week is an opportunity for arts organizations, educators and enthusiasts around the country to lead a dialogue about the transformative power of the arts. Why have this dialogue? Not only is it empowering and validating to share our positive experiences about the arts and how they make us better people and our communities stronger, but the week is a moment to spread the word about the challenges of equal access and sustainability of the arts. Prairie Music & Arts encourages you to join us in being an active participant in this movement by sharing your stories and photos through both your personal social media and through our PMA platforms. We want to know your stories about how the arts have impacted your life, how they have helped your children with school learning and the ways in which the cultural arts have made your community richer and more vibrant.

My personal connection to the arts started as a young child. Though I grew up in a rural community and in a family of limited financial means, my parents made sure that my siblings and I had the opportunity to take private music lessons and encouraged us to participate in school band programs. Music making was a natural part of every day and there were few moments when you didn’t hear someone practicing the guitar, playing the piano, or singing along with the radio. Once I demonstrated a desire to pursue music, my parents helped me seek out other avenues of study through summer music camps and eventually encouraged me to study at an arts-focused high school in eleventh grade. In the 2013 study Something to Say: Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts which focused on the impact of exposure in the arts to tweens ages 10-13, Will Miller President of the Wallace Foundation states, “Engagement in the arts not only allows young people to express themselves and unleash the power of their imagination but can also build skills and confidence; foster teamwork and persistence; and inspire the formation of social bonds, empathy for others and a capacity for delight that can last a lifetime.” My experiences in the arts without a doubt reflect Miller’s sentiment and influenced how I approach my role as a professional music educator and arts administrator.

We hope that you’ll join us in speaking out about how the arts have benefited you by posting on Facebook, through Twitter, or on Instagram indicating #BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek. You can also help make the arts accessible and lasting by reaching out to government officials to impact legislation. To find out more about how you can get involved visit Americans for the Arts. Together we can make a difference and further the cause of arts education for the future!

-Kari Engleson, Prairie Music & Arts Executive Director