ARTS ED NOW: A Call to Action
By Kira Campo, Program Development Manager and Kristin Wenger, Director, NJ Arts Education Partnership
New Jersey’s Arts Ed Now campaign officially launched on September 12, 2016 during national Arts in Education Week. Presented 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. Much like New Jersey’s previous statewide arts advocacy campaign, ARTS FOR EVERYKID, which was launched in the early 1990’s, Arts Ed Now is designed to furnish individuals with tools to advocate more effectively. The campaign message, active creative learning is good for all students and good for New Jersey, is meant to underscore the importance of arts education to our lives, and, in particular, the lives of New Jersey’s youth.
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
Ambassadors are encouraged to learn more and download campaign materials on the website ArtsEdNow.org. Arts education advocates are also encouraged to contribute to 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 emailing email@example.com
The website 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. Colorful infographics and memes can be easily downloaded and shared. In addition, the website also features a collection of stories and ambassador profiles, with examples that highlight actions taken by Local Heroes to promote the campaign. This collection, while already inspiring, will grow as the campaign grows, to reflect the many ways in which teachers, parents, students, administrators, and other community leaders show support for Arts Ed Now.
“So many arts advocates across the state are already doing great work to increase participation in the arts,” said Bob Morrison, Director NJAEP. “We want to highlight those efforts and build on them to reach new potential advocates, who will be able to become strong local ambassadors with the help of Arts Ed Now.”
Social media channels served a key role in the campaign launch, and will remain a vital part of the campaign strategy. By the end of campaign launch week, the total social media reach for campaign activity was more than 4 million unique viewers with over 14 million timeline deliveries. Since launch week the hashtag #ARTSEDNOW continues to be shared daily, and ambassadors are encouraged to participate through social media by sharing in new themes monthly. Check out the latest right here: http://artsednow.org/arts-ed-now/
The launch of Arts Ed Now was truly a statewide effort, with ambassadors throughout New Jersey taking part in the celebration. With support from individuals and organizations, who embraced and promoted the campaign goals as their own, the impact of the launch was significant in both breadth and depth. Additional partners of the campaign include: 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.
The considerable support Arts Ed Now has received to date is timely. A poll conducted by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University in September revealed that 95% of New Jersey residents believe that arts education is important for K-12 students. However, only 30% of residents have taken an action to support arts education in the schools. This disconnect speaks to the need for a statewide campaign that can assist all citizens in New Jersey to advocate more frequently and more effectively.
More info can be found here: http://artsednow.org/new-eagleton-poll-shows-statewide-support-arts-education/#more-6192
Here are some specific action steps you can take:
- Communicate with parents about the campaign and its goals. Explain how your school or district is participating and invite them to explore the website. www.ArtsEdNow.org.
- Participate in the “Yesterday an arts student…” and invite students to participate in the “Today an arts student…” collection on social media.
Tip: Download the sign. Take and share photos. Follow along with the hashtag #ArtsEdNow.
- Add Arts Ed Now to your own social media to connect it with your work. Make sure to include the hashtag #ArtsEdNow.
- Hold a flash mob/pep rally at your school to engage students in the campaign. This could be virtual if you have an active online presence. Timed “Tweet-a-thons” are a great way to engage people who use Twitter.
- Include ArtsEdNow factoids and infographics in concert programs.
- Engage Tri-M Honors Society members to create localized ArtsEdNow activities and/or incorporate ArtsEdNow into existing activities and events.
- Host a “pizza night” to engage parents and students in the campaign. Workshop how people can use www.ArtsEdNow.org to become an active advocate.
- Make local versions of the Arts Ed Now logo and include in your own materials.
- Put an “ad” on your website and in materials to promote Arts Ed Now. Encourage people to explore resources and tools on the website ArtsEdNow.org
- Use the “meme” graphics to celebrate arts teachers on social media.
Include #ArtsEdNow and link to the website ArtsEdNow.org.
Tip: Great if you want to send a shoutout on Social Media!
- Get printed stickers, posters and fact sheets mailed directly to you.
Request materials at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join the Arts Ed Now Facebook Group to contribute your ideas and connect with other ambassadors.
Active creative learning is good for all students and good for New Jersey. LET’S DO MORE.