The Issue: The Benefit of Arts Education
Participation in the arts is key to academic success. According to a report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the amount of time a student spends taking arts courses has a direct positive correlation to their score on the SAT. Art programs immerse youth in creative pursuits, which can build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that translate to other academic areas including math and science. Despite these benefits, though, many schools lack the resources for challenging arts programs.
The Campaign: Teaching Youth Theater Arts at School
If 30 people donate $11, then Leap can sponsor an eight-week theater-residency program for 11 classes at John Yehall Chin Elementary School, thanks to matching donations from an anonymous donor. Donations will be matched up to $330. Leap residencies pair an artist with a school, merging the artist’s talents with the interests of the teachers and students. For the theater-residency program, David Rodgers will teach children in kindergarten through fifth grade how to develop a production, create characters, and explore performance techniques. The eight-week program will culminate with a live performance to showcase the students' newfound skills. Each additional $11 raised will go toward providing additional weeks of the program to the 11 classes.
All donations will be matched up to a $330 total by an anonymous donor.
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In 1978, California passed Proposition 13, which reduced property taxes, therefore decreasing state funding for education and eliminating the arts from many public elementary schools. Leap began in 1979 in response to this measure to ensure students could still participate in the arts. The organization uses residency programs in which professional teaching artists work in elementary and middle schools to enhance existing curricula with several weeks of expert guidance in painting, sculpting, dance, architecture, music, and theater. From serving 180 students in one school in its first year, Leap has grown to work with 8,000 students in more than 40 schools in the Bay Area, helping them to develop creativity and problem-solving skills and increase their self-esteem.