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New Arts Alliance formed in Anaheim
New letter-sized posters. Available on request.
It’s no secret that severe budget cuts have impacted our schools. And while the emphasis is on making sure our children can read and write, use math effectively, know their history and understand science, it’s not too surprising if the arts get cut!
But what a tragedy! Author and speaker Daniel Pink has trenchantly reminded us that the right half of the brain – the creative side – is just as big as the process-oriented left hemisphere. In fact, we now know that unless the right brain hemisphere is encouraged to be creative the whole brain becomes dull and lacking imagination.
There is a statewide organization to lobby for the arts in Sacramento – the California Alliance for Arts Education. They also have a local presence in the form of Arts OC, which in turn is setting up local community alliances to advocate for the recovery of the arts in our schools. To be clear, it’s not that the arts are missing from our Junior High and High Schools. What there is generally of a very high standard. But too few students are being impacted by the arts – especially at elementary and high school levels. This means that the huge advantage a student (and a school) has from being well schooled in the arts is being missed. That is immensely to their detriment and to the prospect of employment when the job hunting starts.
And so to the Anaheim Alliance for Arts Education. Early in 2010 a gathering of education, PTSA, civic and arts people met to begin the process of setting up an advocacy group. They were convened by Representative Jose Solorio and AUHSD President Brian O’Neal. During the summer months the process began to gel and in late October arts and education leaders met to plan the way ahead for 2010-2011.
The local Alliance has set themselves an ambitious agenda which will include addressing school board meetings, parent teacher groups, the City councilors, the press and local businesses.
Here’s a little known secret. Extensive surveys have found that today’s employers prefer candidates with a strong arts background. And why? Because they make better employees. They are more imaginative, contribute better ideas, are quicker to find solutions to business problems and are generally more fulfilled people. See the reproduction of the flier, left.
Did you know that 1 out of 6 jobs in Southern California are now in the creative industries? That is a stunning figure. And these jobs also attract higher than average wages. This is just one of many reasons why parents need to be saying to school administrators, especially at elementry and high school, "Give the arts a greater priority. Our children NEED it."
The Anaheim Alliance for Arts Education will have far more to say about this in due course. In the meantime you can visit the website of Arts OC to get the inside scoop. You may email here for more information.