All students should receive arts education where they learn and grow—our schools. We believe that the classroom is the best place to provide a high-quality, sequential education in the arts. This means teaching the arts year after year, according to state requirements.

Arts learning is unique in its impact and essential to student success.

Arts learning offers an environment where students are taught to observe, envision, innovate, take risks, and evaluate their own work through self-reflection. Children who are sequentially educated in the arts have a better chance of becoming innovative, critical thinkers who can evaluate their own work through self reflection.

Yet in Washington state, 75% of elementary students receive only two hours or less of arts education each week.

The arts is one of the core subjects required to be taught in Washington state schools, but this requirement is not being met. Funding for basic education is not adequate, we know, however the arts often bear the brunt of any shortfall. In many cases, when budgets need to be reduced, instead of spreading the cuts around all subject areas, the arts are eliminated entirely. This discrepancy disproportionately affects low-income communities and students, exacerbating the inequality in our public education system.

Our kids deserve high quality, standards-based education in all legally mandated disciplines—including the arts.

Math, science, reading, social studies, and the arts function together to create a complete education. The state definition of arts education includes a standard-based approach to teaching and evaluating all four disciplines: dance, music, theater, and visual art. Adequate funding for all these disciplines is essential.

All of us are impacted by the quality of the education system.

Standard Pre-K-12 curricula that includes arts education is essential to fostering well-rounded graduates who enter college and the workforce with creative skills and a competitive edge. The narrowing of school curriculum by the elimination of arts education is detrimental to how kids learn and thrive in school and beyond. The only equitable way to reach every child is to teach the arts at school, during school hours.

That’s why our philosophy is to engage the concentric circles of influence in a child’s education: starting with principals and teachers at the center; then extending to parents, policymakers, and other closely invested parties; and finally including the broader universe of community members and businesses.