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Why Art?

Art: Ask for More
Art: Ask for More

"Art. Ask for More." is a national arts education public awareness campaign brought to you by Americans for the Arts, The Ad Council, the NAMM Foundation, and hundreds of local, state, and national official campaign partners.

  • The arts are much more than just fun "extra" activities for kids. Participation in the arts opens up children's worlds and minds, and offers them the skills they need for a bright future. And chances are, your kids are not getting enough art, in or out of school.
  • Has your 4th grader ever taken a DANCE class or learned the basics of choreography?
  • Does your 8th grader know how to play an INSTRUMENT or analyze a piece of music?
  • Has your 10th grader ever acted in a PLAY or studied the motivation of a dramatic character?
  • When was the last time your 12th grader went to a museum or talked about the origins of symbols in the SCULPTURE of various cultures?

A Little Art is Not Enough!

There's not enough art in our schools or in our children's lives. But ask almost any parent, and they'll say that arts education is very important to their child's well being. Which makes it so surprising that the arts have been allowed to virtually disappear from our children's learning experiences.

Did You Know?

  • The arts teach kids to be more tolerant and open.
  • The arts allow kids to express themselves creatively.
  • The arts promote individuality, bolster self-confidence, and improve overall academic performance.
  • The arts can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to delinquent behavior and truancy while providing an improved attitude towards school.

An impressive 89% of Americans believe that arts education is important enough to be taught in schools, but the sad truth is, your kids spend more time at their lockers than in arts classes. Read the facts on how arts education helps kids do better.

Did You Know?

Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

Young artists, as compared with their peers, are likely to:

  • Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
  • Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
  • Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
  • Perform community service more than four times as often

(Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-based Youth Organizations, Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching, Americans for the Arts Monograph, November 1998)

The facts are that art education...

  • Makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries. (Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School, James S. Catterall, The UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA, Americans for the Arts Monograph, January 1998)
  • Has a measurable impact on youth at risk in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in after school and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention. (YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts)

Businesses understand that arts education...

  • Builds a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor that attracts businesses relocating to your community.
  • Strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
  • Helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
  • Can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to destructive behavior and another way for students to approach learning.
  • Provides another opportunity for parental, community, and business involvement with schools, including arts and humanities organizations.
  • Helps all students develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them

Help Your Child Enjoy the Arts

At Home

  • Teach your child songs and enjoy singing them together.
  • Play different kinds of music from the radio or your own collection and encourage them to enjoy singing and dancing along with it.
  • A simple paper and pencil or crayon offers children the chance to express themselves—even a scribble is a good beginning—the important point is for them to feel encouraged and to develop the habit of writing and drawing. Their skill will improve as they naturally compare their work to other pictures and words they see around them. Drawing and writing together will help them see that you value those activities as well.
  • Have pictures and books available for them to enjoy and value. Your local library can be a terrific source of material at no cost to you.
  • Seek out high-quality children's programming that can stimulate your child's imagination and expand his/her understanding of the many different art forms that exist. Public television is available with or without paying extra for cable and offers cultural programming for adults and children. If your child sees you valuing the arts, they will too.
  • Practice photography. Buy a disposable camera for your child to practice. Talk to them about composing a photograph—what is included and what is cut out through the choice of the photographer? What are the elements of and their proportions in the photograph? Work together on creating family photo albums or other thematic collections.
  • Make videos together. Try organizing the shots ahead of time to tell a story as in filmmaking.
  • Read and write poems. Help your child feel the rhythm in poems you enjoy reading and enjoy the fun of writing together within an organized system of verse. If it is difficult to create your own rhythm, practice by borrowing the verse and rhythm structure of a poem you enjoy and make up new words to fit the poem's structure.

In Your Community

  • Most communities have arts festivals or craft fairs—even seasonal celebrations that feature music and dancing. The more opportunity children have to see the arts in action, the more ideas they will get about how they can participate and contribute.
  • Attend presentations in the arts at your local schools, colleges, and performing arts centers. Costs are free or lower than most professional venues.
  • Attend presentations at professional venues to help your child experience excellence: children's theater for younger children and adult dramas, comedies, and musicals for older children, symphonies, jazz ensembles, dance companies featuring ballet, ethnic (Irish step dancing, Spanish flamenco, American square dancing), or modern forms including jazz and tap. Museums sometimes offer musical and dramatic programming as well as their regular exhibits.
  • Singing practice and instruction through choirs can often be found at no cost through local churches and houses of worship.
  • Enroll them in classes that teach drawing, dance, musical instruments, singing, or theater skills. There are some classes that parents and children can take together. Private teachers and studios offer lessons but less-costly arts opportunities can also be found through local, YMCAs, YWCAs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Libraries, to name just a few. Contact Presser Performing Arts Center to ask for leads to community and cultural organizations that offer lessons/classes.
  • Many communities have museums where you and your child can look at art of different kinds. If you don't know of any museums, browse through an art store or gallery just so your child can enjoy seeing a variety of different artistic expression. Feel free to ask museum or store personnel to tell you about the particular works of art you are seeing. Museums often offer special events and classes at free or reduced rates.
  • Check out a book from the library introducing your child to the visual arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and more. Knowing what others have done in an art form can inform and inspire your child as they participate in the same activity.
  • Check out books from the library that tell stories about visual artists, dancers, actors, and musicians. This will introduce your child to the arts and help them feel like they "know" various artists.
  • Encourage your child to read both "classic" and modern books. Compare the styles: how are they similar and how are they different in terms of subject matter and style of writing.
  • Help your child understand art forms that were developed by people of your own racial or ethic heritage. Or talk about family members that had a particular talent or interest in an art form: maybe Grandpa loved to sing or Uncle John was a good storyteller. Ask them what art form they enjoy doing the most and encourage them to do it.