Thursday, October 29, 2009

making the arts central to education?

We had a meeting of the Eureka Springs Arts Council yesterday afternoon, and had invited a number of emerging artists to attend. Each us us were to introduce ourselves and then tell why the arts are essential to our lives and what we want to do about it in a larger social setting and beyond our own lives.

It seemed that for all of us, the discussion centered on the question, "how do we encourage artistic opportunities for the children in our community?" Because our local school board has just launched an ambitious initiative to build a new high school, the question of how the arts might be made more central to that school became a matter for discussion. That the arts should play a central rather than peripheral role was a matter of wide consensus on the arts council and among our invited guests.

The meeting was not for the purpose of making decisions, but for making acquaintances to begin contemplation of the council's direction in coming months. Four things became certain and clear.
1. The arts council has a very strong interest in education and its members see the fostering of the arts at all levels of community life as our direct responsibility.
2. We all expressed an understanding that Eureka is not run of the mill, one size fits all, and that as we have a unique culture, our children's education should reflect it.
3. We are shaped as a community by our direct association with the arts.
4. The future of our community and the lives of our children should also be shaped by engagement in the arts.
Where does all this go? Stay tuned. Or better yet, begin discussions with friends and neighbors concerning how the arts might affect your own communities.

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