David Snyder

Whole Child Blogwatch: The Importance of the Arts

Lucia Brawley, an actress who has appeared in such TV shows as ER and Law & Order, is a passionate advocate for the importance of arts education. In her blog on the Huffington Post, she shares compelling stories of how arts education has affected students and how dedicated advocates have fought to keep arts education accessible to all kids.

Brawley recalls Mordecai, a boy she met in an after-school program in 2003, who loved the piano but lacked resources to pursue it. He has since thrived in a performing arts high school. She relates the success of California's Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership (AAAL) in engaging the business and philanthropic community to fund arts in California schools when state funds for arts were reduced.

It's clear that when she talks about the power of arts to "save lives," she's speaking from the heart. She shares personal memories of growing up in New York and seeing a local theater troupe perform in city neighborhoods on a stage that unfolded from the back of a truck, with the performance space marked off by police tape, and the influence such experiences had on her. But her blog also conveys a clear-eyed practicality, and she stresses the need for research to demonstrate the impact of arts on student success.

How have you seen the arts affect your students?

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