Build appreciation and support for arts education in schools and communities.
Student learning through and in the arts can build communitywide appreciation and support for arts education. Schools can make arts learning visible or audible through performances, displays and other events celebrating students as artists. These events can become traditions anticipated and supported by the community. Consistent efforts to engage families can help them connect to schools and develop a deeper understanding of the value of arts education.
Arts learning that engages the community through participatory or collaborative arts creation can also support a deeper connection between students and communities, helping students see themselves as vital members of their communities and developing new champions for arts education.
Principle in practice
At a baseball game in Spring 2016, the choir teacher at La Pine Middle School began chatting with a La Pine High School English teacher about the possibility of starting an annual musical for their students.
The Sunriver/La Pine Studio to School team recognized this as an opportunity to bring students in music, drama, art and photography together with staff and mentors to create a cultural event for the La Pine community. A musical led by existing staff—and supported by the administration, band and choir programs—had potential to be sustainable for the school.
We recognized that for ongoing success, organization and ownership of performing arts activities must reside in the school staff and community. We know that leaders of successful performing arts activities must possess specific expertise and training to create a quality experience for students. Beginning last spring, the school music instructor and English/drama instructor, working closely together, began creating a musical dream team involving other teachers and community members to oversee sets, costumes, dance and music production. Plans are already underway to charge for performances, establish fundraisers, and seek donations and grants from other groups in the area to create a permanent budget from which the musical group can continue to operate into the future.
—Project team member
In April 2017, the show went on! The Little Mermaid was a big success, playing to audiences of 150-200 and generating more than $5,000 in ticket sales to support future musicals. Since that first musical, this has become a springtime tradition in La Pine.
The past four years have sparked major changes at La Pine Middle School. A variety of arts opportunities are offered, and on a deeper level, school culture has changed. There are signs that the arts are becoming embedded in school culture—moving from “we can do this at our school” to “we do this at our school.” It’s beginning to feel less like the arts are the responsibility/purview of the arts/music teacher, with signs that arts integration is beginning to take hold.
—Project team member