I remember it so clearly. Standing in Diane Whitney’s music class, learning the lyrics and melody to her original song celebrating Tallahassee, my hometown. Even 30 years later, the chorus pops into my head every now and then.
It was magical, the idea that a group of elementary school students could give life to her unique invention and learn about musicianship and our community in the process. I realized then the power of arts education.
Many others recognize that power too, and seven years ago, Congress passed a resolution designating the second week of September as National Arts in Education Week. It states, in part:
“Arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.”
I would even go further to contend arts education is an integral part of living a fulfilled life.
I was raised in a household where arts and culture were part of the daily conversation. Family lore has it I attended my first play as a newborn and appeared on stage just a few months later.
During grade school, I was involved in performing arts and was part of a local children’s theater company. I also loved the visual arts and in third grade realized I wanted to be an art teacher. I loved my own art teacher, Priscilla Armor, and I loved the way I felt in her class.
Amanda Karioth Thompson is the assistant director, education and exhibitions manager for the Council on Culture & Arts.
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