NY State Senator for the Arts in Schools

Posted by John Abodeely, Jul 07, 2009 2 comments

New York State Senator Jose Serrano (D-28) wrote a compelling op-ed in the Gotham Gazette about the importance of arts education, even in a time of economic distress.

It's stunning and wonderful to read an eloquent and informed piece by such a high-ranking and powerful public leader. What's better than his educated opinions in support of the arts? Reading about the actions he's already taken to help put the arts back in NY's schools.

Here are some choice bits.

Perhaps it would be prudent to teach the arts only when we are confident that our young people can read, write and count proficiently, and when our society is generally more prosperous. In other words, is arts education significant, especially in a time of economic distress?


The issue of arts education brings us to the basic question of what type of society we wish to build. Today's eighth graders are the next generation of civic and business leaders. The cultural heritage of the state of New York, be it visual, architectural or musical, will be in their hands. If we want future generations to appreciate and see value in architectural icons like the Brooklyn Bridge, music forms like jazz and salsa, and painters like Edward Hopper, we need to introduce young people to them now. No matter what their ethnic, cultural or class background, a sound arts education strengthens our children's connection to their communities and to broader society.


We must hold ourselves -- our parents, our students, our elected officials, our school administrators -- accountable on arts education. For this reason, I signed onto the mayoral control amendments sponsored by Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson. In addition, I have introduced legislation mandating a statewide audit to monitor compliance with laws and regulations governing arts education. I have also introduced a resolution in the legislature that will designate October as "Arts Education Month." Two partners, the Center for Arts Education and the New York State Alliance for Arts Education, have joined these efforts.

No one can deny that continued and positive exposure to the arts and New York's rich and multi-faceted cultural heritage is a sound investment for our children. Let's not use our current political and budgetary challenges as an excuse to deny them this opportunity.

2 responses for NY State Senator for the Arts in Schools


Debra says
July 07, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I was just reading an ad for this site, featuring Martha Graham. it made me realize how important art is to young children and how the kids are being cheated. When I was young, early elementary school, we were loaded up into school buses and taken by out tiny school district to hear the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I am now 56, nearly 57, years old and yet today, I can remember the sights, the sounds, the smells of that glorious place. It made me feel so special to sit in that beautiful red velvet seat and luxuriate in the most beautiful music i had ever heard. Later, the school (Sand Hill Elementary in Taylor, Michigan, all four classrooms!) took us to the Toledo Museum of Art. Even as a grown woman, before I moved south, I would stop and visit the museum when I was traveling through the area. I can remember tiny details of that first magical trip to this day as well. This proves to me what an impact the arts have on children, how important it is to their development. We desperately need to give these beautiful gifts to our children. I suppose I never realized how much it means, how much it meant to me, until I read the ad. Every child needs this and as a society, we need to make sure our children are getting this in their school system, as I did, and would not have gotten if it was not for that little school. Thanks!

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July 09, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Thanks John and Debra for showing an interest in our newsletter and for your thoughtful opinions. We recently posted another article about the arts that we thought you might be interested in.

Recession Adds New Meaning to 'Struggling Artist'

by Nicole G. Anderson


Hope you enjoy the read!

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