Passionate about Arts Education

The Arts Council loves to enhance arts education! It is a core element of our mission. Among our programs which serve the K-12 age plus adult learning:

  • Plein Air ARTS Day
  • Marvin S Cone High School Juried Art Show
  • Master Classes & Partnerships
  • Sunset Concerts (many feature young, talented musicians)
  • mARTies Scholarships
  • Professional Development Workshops
  • Eco-Art
  • Inspired By & Cultural Conversations

Article below was a Guest Column by Executive Director Nancy K. Turrell in the Stuart News (December 2016).

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Unleashing students in arts education

What do Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso and Martha Graham have in common?

Each harnessed creativity to break boundaries and forge a lasting, global impact in their respective fields.

How are we, as a state, working to unleash vital creativity among students in our arts education?

For starters, 50 percent of Florida’s K-12 students are enrolled in a fine arts education class (i.e., visual arts, dance, music and/or theater). In Martin County, that number jumps to 63 percent (with 64 percent of students in our recent State of Arts Education survey saying they wanted a professional career in the arts).

Are we paying enough attention to how the arts impact a successful adult career and foster creativity?

Shouldn’t the ability to express oneself freely be an integral part of education?

Our message is simple: Arts education matters. Students of all ages (K-12, and adults pursuing continuing education) benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking and creativity. The arts are an essential part of a complete education: at home, at school and in the community.

Jeff Coulter, who was featured this fall in a “Homegrown Sound” article, said, “My art and music classes in school were instrumental in defining who I wanted to be and how I wanted to get there. I am forever in debt to my teachers and my greatest hope would be that arts and music classes could be expanded in our schools.”

“Preparing Student for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education,” a publication from the Arts Education Partnership, summarizes, “Perhaps now more than ever — as the country becomes increasingly diverse, the world more interconnected, and the workplace more oriented around technology and creativity — arts education is key to such a system and to ensuring students’ success in school, work and life.”

 The new “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which replaces the “No Child Left Behind Act,” creates a platform where the arts are as integral an element of a “well-rounded education” as math and language skills. The Arts Council, as well as our counterparts in the region, advocate for a strong arts education curriculum in the schools and have provided enhancement programs to augment the lessons in the classroom.

One such example is the “Marvin S. Cone High School Juried Art Show,” which was launched 30 years ago to celebrate, nurture and encourage young artists in Martin County schools. The alumni of this program now are paying it forward as volunteers, teachers and artists. To inspire current students and celebrate a life in the creative sector, we are hosting a reunion featuring alumni of this exhibition. Painters, illustrators and photographers as well as musicians, all of whom exhibited during their time in a local high school, will celebrate this 30-year legacy.

As we honor the importance of arts in education, consider these important statistics collected by the National Endowment for the Arts:

  • The U.S. creative economy is $698 billion (or 4.32 percent of the gross domestic product).
  • Artists are highly entrepreneurial and are 3.5 times more likely to be self employed.
  • Ninety-seven percent of U.S. employers say hiring creative people is increasingly important, and 85 percent of those looking to hire creative people cannot find them.
  • The United States exports more arts and culture services than it imports, resulting in a $25 billion surplus in 2012.

Is our state’s 50 percent student participation in the arts a good enough investment in such a promising and profitable industry? What would Walt Disney, who coined the phrase, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” say? His creative and artistic vision brings in $20 billion annually to Florida and employs one in 50 residents.

Should average be OK?

NOTE: About 30 artists who exhibited during the 30-year legacy of the Marvin S. Cone High School Juried Art Show currently are exhibiting at the Martin County Courthouse Cultural Center. The show is on display through Jan. 11.

Article as printed in the December 27, 2016 Stuart News.

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