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Yo-Yo Ma & Kerry Washington Make the Case for Arts Education

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May 08, 2013

Recently, several members of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) have made public appearances in support of STEAM and the Turnaround Arts Initiative.

On Arts Advocacy Day 2013 (April 9, Washington, DC) Yo-Yo Ma, internationally renowned cellist and PCAH member, delivered the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The lecture was presented in person to hundreds and streamed to thousands, as Ma made the case for arts education in our schools.

Ma summed up his lecture with what he called his "three big ideas."

  1. Societies are powered by three engines: politics, economics and culture. A vibrant society exists when all three engines are firing and intersecting, resulting in a populace that is energized, engaged and fulfilled.

  2. Our collective work in the arts is not just relevant, but essential to strengthening our culture and positively influencing society. Thus: "Art for Life's Sake."

  3. The arts are the way to foster the four critical skills necessary for our children to succeed in the 21st-century workforce: collaboration, flexibility, imagination, innovation.

Watch the Full Lecture on YouTube

Earlier this week, Kerry Washington, actress and PCAH member, appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to spread the message further. She spoke specifically about the Turnaround Arts Initiative, a program of PCAH designed to help narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement throught the arts. Washington explained that not only does being involved in the arts at school motivate students to show up, but it prepares them for challenges later in life. She says, "...if a child is learning how to study art they’re learning how to problem solve, they’re learning to be an innovative thinker....so they become a stronger thinker." Watch the Full Interview on YouTube


Pictured Above: Yo-Yo Ma at the Kennedy Center (top), Kerry Washington and David Letterman on the Late Show (bottom).

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org