The holidays offer ideal opportunities for arts education advocacy efforts as schools present their concerts, performances, and more.
This is your chance to spread some holiday cheer and raise awareness of the importance of arts programs for every student in your school. Below are some ideas to help get you started in your efforts.
Have other strategies that have worked well at your school? We’d love to hear about your success! Share your top tips with us through our Facebook page and we’ll add the best ones to our list below!
For Educators & Parents
- Have the principal introduce the concert and welcome the guests. Ask him or her to talk about the importance of the arts in the school culture.
- Between performances pepper in some statistics on the arts program in your school. Thank the public and the administration for their support. Mention how many students in the school participate in the arts program. Add the percentage of students which this represents.
- Have other teachers (non-arts) share how the students’ involvement in the arts has affected their overall engagement in school.
- Have a student tell a story about how they have been impacted by the arts.
- Have students attend a School Board meeting to invite the Superintendent of your district and the School Board to holiday performances. Ask them in advance if they would say make a few remarks from the stage about what the arts means to them.
- Invite the PTSA leaders of your school to holiday performances. Recognize how the PTSA has supported the school’s arts programming.
- Include arts messages in your school’s holiday social media efforts (i.e. E-newsletters, website, Facebook, Twitter). These posts could link back to inspirational stories.
- Letters to “Santa.” Have students write holiday letters to the district to let them know how the arts are having a positive impact and how continuing to support the arts would be a gift. (Theme idea: “All I want for Christmas is the arts at my school.”)
- Promote your holiday performances to the local media and let them know why these programs are vital to the students and the community. Great opportunities are those that can also provide a festive media photo.
- Invite local legislators to attend performances and involve them in the performance – perhaps conducting a holiday favorite or making a few remarks from the stage.
- Include an easy-to-read and understand research study (with citation) in the performance or exhibit program (see Critical Evidence for some great options)
- Instead of giving a traditional gift to teachers, staff, or your principal, write a letter letting them know how the arts have impacted you at school. Highlight those teachers that have been inspirational or have made a special impact.
- Tell a story about how you have been impacted by the arts.
- Attend a School Board meeting to invite the Superintendent of your district and School Board to holiday performances. Ask them in advance if they would say a few words about what the arts means to them.
Students who participate in the arts 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
Find more ArtsEd Washington advocacy tips and messages here. Below are some additional resources that may be helpful to your efforts:
- SupportMusic Coalition http://supportmusic.com
- Americans for the Arts: http://www.artsusa.org/
- Keep Arts in Our Schools: http://www.keepartsinschools.org/
Thank you to the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership for inspiring this column. Some of the tips included are courtesy of their advocacy team.