The NJ-based Arts Ed Now campaign officially launched on September 12, 2016 during national Arts Ed Week – with advocates featuring the initiative at local and statewide levels all week long.
Spurred by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP), NJ 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 New Jersey.
Studies show that students who participate in arts education do better in school and in life. The longer students are engaged in arts education, the better the outcomes are overall. To heighten the outcomes in New Jersey, Arts Ed Now is focused on increasing participation in every school in the state.
Unfortunately, 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
In 1987, Gov. Tom Kean signed the law creating the Literacy in the Arts Task Force to examine the state of arts education in New Jersey.
“Arts Ed Now is the next generation of advocacy for excellent arts education in our state,” Kean said in a statement about the campaign. “I support this campaign and encourage everyone who cares about the future of New Jersey to engage, advocate, and do what you have to do to get results for the benefit of students everywhere.”
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 overall campaign tactics and shared statewide for more powerful results overall.
Additional leadership for the campaign includes: Art Educators of New Jersey, ArtPride NJ, Dance NJ, NJ Department of Education, NJ Music Educators Association, NJ Principals & Supervisors Association/Foundation for Educational Administration, Speech & Theatre Assoc. of NJ, and creative partner Social Impact Studios. Additional partners include the Education Law Center, New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey PTA. NJTV is a campaign media partner.
“So many people across the state are already doing great work to increase participation in the arts,” said Bob Morrison, NJAEP director. “We want to highlight those efforts and build on them to amplify the voices of those who care about arts education as strong local ambassadors with the help of Arts Ed Now.”
One such effort is the pilot community of Newark, NJ.
“As a large local community addressing its own arts education needs, the Newark Arts Education Roundtable (NAER) is able to leverage the Arts Ed Now campaign to help ambassadors become even stronger advocates,” said Lauren Meehan, NAER director. “We are also able to provide the support as a pilot community to test and refine the statewide campaign tools – in an effort to serve as a model for other communities facing similar challenges as Newark.”
Arts Ed Now officially launched on September 12, 2016, which coincides with national Arts Education Week. A spotlight focus on activities across the state all week long will provide a springboard for the multi-year initiative.
During lead up to Launch Week, advocates could learn more and download basic campaign materials on the pre-website ArtsEdNow.org. Arts education advocates could also get behind-the-scenes updates on the Arts Ed Now Facebook Group. Printed materials are also available 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
The full “campaign central” is now live. The full site 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 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.
About the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership
The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP) is the unified voice for arts education in New Jersey. NJAEP was originally founded in 2007 as a cosponsored program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Prudential Foundation, and ArtPride New Jersey Foundation. The mission of the NJAEP is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society. Additional information is available at www.artsednj.org.