Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

ArtsReach! an ICAN Arts Education Initiative


Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 10:19:02 PDT

Dear Friends:

The Louisiana organization I founded and run is called ICAN -
Independent Children's Artist Network. We are a support organization
for professional children's artists in Louisiana who perform school,
library, community, and family shows. We publish a catalog of artists
which is distributed each fall to all Louisiana elementary and middle
schools. You may visit our website at

In September/October, we are launching ArtsReach!, a free 30 minute
program on the importance of arts in education. It is being offered to
school PTAs across Louisiana. Our goal is to educate parents and get
them involved in assisting their schools to include arts in education.
Our artists are volunteering their time for this project. They are
going to present a five minute presentation of their art form, give a 10
minute speech, show a 10 minute video titled "Arts Literacy for
Louisiana", and close with a Q&A. Following the presentation, schools
will receive a Top 10 Reasons for Arts Education poster. Parents and
teachers will receive a handout with suggestions for arts activities,
resources, and websites.

I have drafted the speech but it is dry, in my opinion. It needs some
"tidbit tales," stories of famous people who were influenced by the arts
in their lives. I am doing research on Leonard da Vinci (an inventor as
well as an artist) and Thomas Alva Edison (who took theater classes and
had a great love of Shakespeare). If you have other suggestions for
famous people who were influenced by the arts in their lives, please
share. Also, if you have memorable quotes on the arts or arts in
education, I would greatly appreciate that too. Now, my friends, I
offer the speech for your review. I would appreciate any comments and
suggestions you may have.

ArtsReach! Speech

Open or close with a five minute performance.

Hello. My name is ____________________ and I am a performing artist
(give your art discipline). Give brief background on self.
I am a Member of ICAN - Independent Children's Artist Network, an
organization of professional children's artists from across the state
who perform arts in education programs in school, library, family, and
community venues. We publish a catalog of artists that is distributed
to schools statewide each fall. (Hold up catalog to show.) Our artists
are from all arts disciplines: dance, music, puppetry, storytelling, and
theater. We also offer workshops and residencies specific to our arts
disciplines. Many of our artists have received awards, honors, and
fellowships for their work. Most importantly, we believe in the power
of arts in education - that children and the arts should go hand in
hand. We encourage you to guide your children to "See and Be the Arts!"
Raise your hand if you 1) listen to the radio, 2) watch TV, 3) go to the
movies, 4) attend theater performances, 5) visit art museums, 6) attend
your children's dance recitals, plays, and school performances, 7) hang
your children's artwork on the refrigerator or display it on your desk
at work? Congratulations! In one way or another, we all support the
arts. Yet, in times of budget crises, the arts are the first item to be
cut and the last to be restored. It's time we put a stop to that and
bring about change.

Let's take a look at research on the impact of the arts in education:

Young people who participate in the arts for at least 3 hours on three
days each week through at least one full year are:

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

As compared with their peers, young artists are likely to:

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

Research conducted by James S. Catterall at UCLA found that

        . Arts education makes a tremendous impact on the
developmental growth of every child
        . A high level of participation in the arts makes a
significant difference to students from low-income backgrounds
        . Sustained involvement in particular art forms, music and
theater, has a high correlation with success in mathematics and reading

Research performed by Dr. Shirley Brice of Stanford University shows
"at-risk students who are actively engaged in arts learning and arts
productions improve their self-esteem and confidence, assume leadership
roles and improve their overall school performance.

A quality arts education can help students achieve Cs -- the four Cs:

        . Cognition - The arts expand our knowledge and contribute
to intellectual comprehension
        . Culture - The arts help us understand people, their
traditions, and culture.
        . Communication - The arts enable us to send and receive
messages in a variety of media that are their own form of literacy. The
arts use sights, sounds, and movement to convey meaning beyond the power
of words.
        . Creativity - The arts teach the skills associated with
imagination, invention, and innovation skills. Creativity cultivated
through the arts is linked to the processes of scientific discovery and
skills in the business world.

Because an arts education develops a diverse range of cognitive
abilities, it helps teachers promote achievement across disciplines,
fostering the development of spatial, mathematical, logical, and
physical abilities.

Let's take a look at video produced by the Louisiana Alliance for Arts
Education on the arts and learning.

SHOW VIDEO (10 min)

With the "No Child Left Behind" law passed in 2001, schools are facing
an era of change. Success in schools will be measured by whether every
child is learning. The compelling evidence about the impact of the arts
on learning cannot be ignored. Successful schools employ quality arts
programs. It's time to make a difference in your child's education by
supporting the arts.

Now, you are probably asking yourself "What can I do to include the arts
in my child's school?" Encourage your children to "See and Be the

        See the Arts
                        . Take the students on arts field trips to
live theater and music performances
                        . Take the students on a field trip to the
art museum
                        . Bring in professional performers to
present quality educational and entertaining arts programs
                        . Encourage students to read and explore
the arts in books and on the Internet
                        . Decorate your school with students'
artwork. There is joy and pride in seeing one's work on display.

        Be the Arts
                        . Help teachers to include the arts in
their curriculum for hands on learning through the arts. Ask what you
can do to help.
                        . Have students participate in school
productions in music, dance, and theater. Invite family, friends, and
the community to attend performances.
                        . Bring in an artist-teacher to conduct a
hands on, interactive arts residency with the students. Involve the
teachers for a team planning effort.
                        . Encourage students to draw, sing, tell
stories, act, and dance. Give them creative space
                        . Create an "Arts Day" for your school
with performances, live art demonstrations, and an art gallery.
                        . Support after-school and summer arts
                        . Volunteer to coordinate any of the

It's up to you to support the arts in the classroom and in your child's
school. Be a model for your children and support the arts at home as
well. Supporting the Arts Gives our Children smARTS!

ICAN, You Can, We Can Make a Difference with the Arts! Thank you.


smARTS "Bring Back the Arts" Campaign, California State PTA

Bringing Education to After-School Programs - Summer 1999, Arts
Education Partnership

Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, Arts Education

Facts About Arts Education, Americans for the Arts

Overview: No Child Left Behind, No Child Left Behind

Dianne de Las Casas
Professional Storyteller
Director, Story Ballet Magic
President, ICAN - Independent Children's Artist Network
Co-Publisher, Working smARTS e-newsletter for children's artists
Louisiana State Liaison, National Storytelling Network
Founder, childrensartists e-group on
P.O. Box 2656
Harvey, LA 70059

"ICAN Make a Difference with the Arts!"