For the past 18 months, a team led by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership has been developing the next multiyear statewide arts education advocacy campaign: Arts Ed Now. The Arts Ed Now campaign officially launched yesterday as part of National Arts in Education Week, with advocates featuring the initiative at both the local and statewide levels all week long providing a springboard for the multi-year initiative. The goal of Arts Ed Now is to increase arts education participation in every school in the state. Spurred by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP), New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Americans for the Arts, Arts Ed Now is a multi-year campaign designed to increase participation in arts education in schools across the state. While many studies show that students who participate in arts education do better in school and better after graduation, not all NJ students have the same access to arts education to be able to participate at high levels – or increase existing participation. Despite state education standards, many schools lag behind in offering all four disciplines of dance, music, theater, and visual arts.
To achieve better results, the campaign set the following goals by year 2020:
- All NJ students will have access to arts education
- Increase the number of schools providing more than two art forms
- Increase arts participation in elementary and middle schools to 100%
- Increase participation in high schools to 60%
- Increase school engagement with community resources
- Develop a statewide network of local stakeholders
We know there are thousands of people across N.J. who care deeply and passionately about arts education. Our goal is to help these people effectively act as strong local ambassadors with the help of the Arts Ed Now strategies and tools. Arts Ed Now centers its strategy on helping arts education advocates become good ambassadors to advance the issue forward. Through a statewide network, Arts Ed Now brings people together to share information, stories, and best practices for increasing participation in arts education. Local communities provide opportunities to test ideas for advocacy, which then get added to the campaign tactics and shared statewide for more powerful results overall. The Arts Ed Now website is designed as an activation hub for everyone involved in promoting the campaign. Visitors to the site can see how their school stacks up in providing arts education and can get active right away in the campaign. Practical tools on the site can help ambassadors raise awareness, change policy, or create their own local campaign to make change. The site will also provide resources, stories, and highlights of ongoing action by local ambassadors.
So what can you do?
- Download basic campaign materials at ArtsEdNow.org.
- Sign up for behind-the-scenes updates on the Arts Ed Now Facebook Group.
- Participate in the “Yesterday an arts student” social media campaign.
- Look up what arts programs are available at your own school and take action to increase access.
- If you are an organization executive, share the campaign information with your board members and include campaign resources on your website.
- Share your stories! Let us know what you are doing and provide us with feedback on ways we can support your engagement with the campaign.
Materials are available now for anyone who wants to launch Arts Ed Now in their school, organization, or community. Campaign stickers, posters and fact sheets can be requested by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org