Celebrating Arts Education Month
Special Education Community Advisory Committee and Balance4Kids Art Show and Poster Competition bring teachers, students and families together
There was a festive atmosphere at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education the evening of February 24th. Surrounded by student art, with live music in the background, students, families, friends, teachers and administrators chatted and enjoyed light refreshments while highlighting the importance of arts in education.
The art brightened the walls of the County Office of Education facility throughout February. Students had been free to interpret the theme, Under the Sun, as they liked. The resulting artwork took form from many ideas such as Chasing Rainbows, Big Cloud, Super Heroes, and William the Leopard. All who attended had the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece of art to determine competition winners. Three local artists, Gayle Ortiz, Jill Tardif and Lori Wilson, volunteered as judges and were given the task of choosing one artwork to be included on this year’s CAC poster. The poster is put on display at every public school site in the county as well as other venues.
The reception was sponsored by Balance4Kids, a non-profit agency that fundraises to provide grants to teachers, provides instructional aides and respite help in the classrooms, and supports after-school activities at Kids Quest and The Club Quest Social Center for students with special needs. The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) also sponsors the event. CAC is a group of parents, educators and other interested community members who make a difference in the education of all children. The goal of the CAC is to improve and protect the education of children with special needs. Find out more about CAC here.
A Word about the Arts from the County Superintendent
Participating with the students and families celebrating the art show and reception and being aware that March is Arts Education Month, made me reflect on the fact that the arts are essential for all and, in particular, all students. The arts represent a form of thinking that is both sensory and academic, involving imagination and judgment. Art is an essential form of expression and communication. The arts provide unique ways of reaching students who may not access knowledge as readily through language and mathematics alone. Many studies have shown that the arts can level the playing field for young people and help improve their academic achievement by overcoming challenges varying from disadvantaged backgrounds, reading and language development, and spatial reasoning.