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The Pandemic Has Devastated Art Programs, But You Can Help

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Your kindergarten teacher knew that art is an essential subject. Those fingerpaint masterpieces and magazine collages weren’t just gifts you proudly bore home to your parents. They were also confidence-builders that developed your language skills and fostered your self-expression. 

 Art has been found to improve children’s motor skills, broaden their minds, and increase their overall cognitive performance. It has also been well documented that arts programs are responsible for increased student engagement, affecting everything from grades to graduation rates.

 “A simple line painted with the brush can lead to freedom and happiness.” - Joan Miro

 You might know a child who can entertain herself for hours on end with just a piece of paper and a set of markers. Or someone with an uncanny ability to transform clay into jewelry. Maybe you’ve heard of a teen that came out of his shell wielding a paintbrush or spray can.

 For some kids, art class is the only thing keeping them engaged at school. For others, their relationship to their art teacher might be their only creative kinship. Art class might be the place some kids find their people—or even their calling.

 

COVID-19’s effect on arts education

Ominous headlines have warned of the decline in arts programs in American school for years. The COVID-19pandemic caused the precipitous acceleration of this disturbing trend. In 2020 we saw multitudes of canceled programs, record job losses, and reduced participation in the programs that remained available. The outlook for recovery is grim. This disease has blighted the arts more dramatically than it did most other sectors.

 One of the pandemic's first effects was the relatively instant loss of jobs across all sectors—most of which aren’t expected to recover until 2022—and the arts sector was among the worst hit.

 In the United States in 2019, the arts and culture sector was a $919.7 billion industry that supported 5.2 million jobs and represented 4.3% of the nation’s economy.  But fromMarch 2020 to February 2021, the average arts and culture organization experienced a deficit of 26%. Arts, entertainment and recreation jobs are still down 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

 

On top of that, local government revenue losses are also now topping $5.6 billion with 970,000 of jobs negatively affected as a result of canceled events. And there are no signs that recovery will be speedy.

The picture is not pretty.

 If you are reading this with a heavy heart, we have some ideas of how you can help. From getting involved locally to supporting policy, if this matters to you, you can make a difference.

What you can do:

  • Advocate or fundraise at your school. See if they allow things like PTA-funded arts programs and after-school activities.
  • Donate supplies to your school or local community center. Call them, ask what they need, and how many kids they have. Local schools, YMCAs and Boys And Girls Clubs are worthy places to start.
  • Organize a private art class and hire an art teacher to come to your place for a lesson.Invite friends and share the cost.
  • Know of a struggling art teacher? Research artist grants like the Artists Relief Fund and help them apply.
  • Do you have a favorite art teacher? Help promote them and spread the word about their art or services on social media and to your
  • Americans for the Arts is a great resource for ways you canadvocate for arts education and funding for the arts. Check out their website for actions you can take today that can help get artists back to work and students back to creating.
  • Make a donation to arts advocacy organizations that are fighting for arts education. Like the California Arts Council’s Keep Art in School Fund. https://www.keepartsinschoolsfund.org/impact
  • Invest in creativity, andBUY ART!
about-kellie

Hey, I’m Kellie full time mom part time crafter

I am a mother of four who has found salvation in sitting down with her littles (and the big ones, too) and making stuff. I am a true believer in how much easier it is to bond and have fun when you are in the creative or active process of making. I am excited to share my best projects with you here! And maybe a few of the more challenging ones, too…

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