The headlines in local papers from coast-to-coast all seem to reflect the same news -- in these tough economic times, many of our schools are in budget crisis. The bold print generally reads, with little variation, that the first to go are librarians, physical education instructors and, of course, arts educators. It's the same story, almost everywhere, almost all the time.
For those who challenge our schools, our students and our teachers to nurture talent, creativity and imagination rather than allowing the school curriculum to be reduced to preparing students to perform on standardized tests this news is often deflating. Sure there are occasional wins, but the trend seems clear to an outsider like me: where innovation is needed most, creativity and imagination seem to be treated as expendable.
There is ample research showing the power of a creative education. Research consistently demonstrates that there are genuine correlations between participation in the arts, academic performance and long-term life success. Students who engage in creative risks develop long-term engagements in their own learning process and thus have higher probability of staying on an educational track.
If ever the community of parents, teachers, policy makers, administrators, engaged citizens and students who want to see a public educational structure where talent is seen as conduit to engagement and imagination is seen as touchstone to entrepreneurship and innovation, then we must bring those very traits and values to the conversation about education reform itself.
Throughout history artists have lent their creative expression to issues of culture & politics. They combine innovation with art's greatest strength - the ability to transcend boundaries and make an impact, while not relying solely on language. Artists can convene conversations otherwise left untouched with the stroke of a pen or the drag of a bow.
It is with this understanding and with a desire to engage as many people who believe in the importance of an education that includes civic engagement and creativity that we launch RE:FORM SCHOOL -- a high profile group art exhibition, event series and public awareness campaign grounded in New York City, that brings together the creative community in a call for the reform of the American Public Education System.
RE:FORM SCHOOL, a REDU project, brings together over 150 of today's top contemporary artists, hundreds of volunteers, parents, students, teachers and grass roots organizers to send a loud message that the time has come to fix our ailing public school system. Because every kid deserves a great education.
Many of our nations most celebrated contemporary artists including Shepard Fairey, Michel Gondry, Swoon, WK Interact, FAILE, Maya Hayuk, Ken Swift (Rock Steady Crew), Marc Ecko and many more come together under one roof to celebrate the role that imagination, creativity and innovation will play in the process of rethinking, reforming and rebuilding public education in the United States.
RE:FORM SCHOOL, a REDU project, is free and open to the public. Taking place in the heart of New York City from Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 10:00 am until Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm. Join us at the converted Old St. Patrick's Cathedral Catholic School, located at 233 Mott Street New York, NY 10012 (Prince at Mott St).
REDU stands for rethinking, reforming and rebuilding US education. Powered by people and technology, REDU is a movement designed to expand and encourage the national conversation around education reform by providing information and resources to learn, a community platform to connect, and the tools to act.
Art sales will benefit The Urban Arts Partnership.