Laura Casey, an art educator for 13 years and current teacher at Cameron Park Elementary School in Hillsborough is a champion of arts education. Since 2006, she has received Arts in Education grants from the Orange County Arts Commission to bring performances and artist residencies into her school. Laura recently commented on the value of these Arts in Education grants for her students:
“The grants helped the students recognize artists as professionals who value their work and are able to share their passion with others. The students learned new art skills – creating clay whistles with Elizabeth Paley and environmental art with Bryant Holsenbeck. The African-American Dance Ensemble with Chuck Davis highlighted cultural dancing and movement with storytelling. These artists helped the students think creatively, not only about art but also about science, the environment and cultural heritage. Students recall these experiences with enthusiasm years later, which justifies to me the time spent writing, applying, and scheduling these grants and opportunities.”
“The grants are very worthwhile, giving the students experiences and opportunities for learning that they would probably not have had outside of school. Without the grant funding, the school would not have been able to afford these artists and groups. For me as an art teacher, these grants support my art program. Previous grants I was awarded gave me the chance to work with artists that helped me acquire new skills that I later utilized in my art room.”
“Grants are a vital part of bringing outside resources into the school. The Orange County Arts Commission supports the arts curriculum, which is not always supported by other funding sources.”
EVERY student deserves a complete, competitive, excellent education that includes the arts. Our culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit depend on creativity…the business of arts education.
Why an Arts Education Policy?
- Arts education policy anticipates skills students need for future jobs and careers. “House Bill 138 is not an arts education bill, it’s a jobs bill.” – Representative Michele D. Presnell (Yancey, Haywood, Madison counties)
- Arts education policy levels the playing field ensuring that students from rural districts have the same opportunities as students in large metropolitan districts.
- Innovation is the outcome of creative pursuit. North Carolina seeks businesses that focus on innovative products which require skilled workers who can work in collaboration and apply knowledge in new and different ways. Arts education nurtures creativity and teaches innovation skills.
- Arts education policy makes school a place where students and teachers want to be, thus improving student and teacher retention, graduation rates, and student achievement.
What is House Bill (HB) 138?
- Requires one arts education credit prior to graduation that can be taken anytime in grades 6-12.
- For purposes of this bill, arts education is broadly defined as study of music, visual arts, dance, and theatre and encompasses a broad spectrum of subjects and curriculum.
- Criteria of the credit will be determined by the NC State Board of Education and could be met by a “menu” of options provided for the LEA. HB138 creates a win/win by providing equal access for all students while allowing for local authority and flexibility.
Through our own experiences and those of our families and children, we all recognize the value of arts education for students. Arts education is essential.
For information on arts education policy in North Carolina and proposed HB138 in the legislature, please click on the link below.