This week we visited several of our member agencies and grantees to hear from them just what impact the arts have had in their life. Although National Arts in Education Week is coming to a close, we considered it a privileged to use our platform to spread awareness about the power of the arts in schools. Our friends at deadCenter, Canterbury Voices and Current Studio, to name a few, raved about using the arts to engage otherwise underserved students.

Studies show, bringing arts into the classroom is essential to developing a well-rounded, confident child. Whether these are opportunities for children with Down Syndrome to exercise through dance, explore their creativity, gain self-esteem and learn how to work with others, or the use of live theatrical performance to enhance “reading for meaning” at underperforming schools, integrating the arts into students’ curriculum transfers to academic success.

In 2016, budget cuts in Oklahoma resulted in 16,456 students left without any arts education as part of their daily school curriculum. Advocating for youth arts education is critical to ensure schoolchildren continue to receive the proven benefits of long-term arts exposure, including creative problem-solving skills, improved school attendance, higher grades and standardized test scores, and enhanced communication skills.

Our educational outreach grant program specifically funds the K-12 arts education efforts of member agencies and other leading cultural nonprofits. More than 545,000 cultural experiences were provided to school-age children in the last year—enriching communities and ultimately reaching all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Let’s continue to share about the transformative power of the arts. Join our mailing list to stay up to date on arts, education and creativity in our community.