This September, in schools throughout New Jersey there was added cause for excitement amid the usual flurry of activity that marks the start of the school year. During National Arts in Education Week, September 12-17, students, parents, teachers, arts administrators, school leaders, and others joined together in celebration of the official launch of the Arts Ed Now campaign. Excitement for the campaign message continued to gain momentum during the week-long, statewide celebration. Enthusiastic ambassadors took to the internet to communicate their support. Photos and video were Shared, Liked and ReTweeted! Through various social media channels the “ArtsEdNow” hashtag reached millions of unique viewers.
Many organizations were eager to voice support for the chief campaign goal—increasing student participation in arts education. The collection of Local Heroes featured on the Arts Ed Now website is just a small sample of the mighty support and attention the Arts Ed Now campaign has received. By taking the lead, a marvelous group of dedicated champions served as shining examples. East Brunswick High School, Young Audiences NJ & Eastern PA, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey Education Association, are just a few of the Local Heroes that have inspired many more. You can find all Local Heroes stories here.
Participating in the launch enabled individuals and organizations to raise awareness about Arts Ed Now and to connect with others who feel it is important that all school districts in New Jersey provide students with robust arts education programs. A poll conducted by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers revealed that 95% of NJ residents believe arts education is important for K-12 students, and only 30% have taken action to support arts education. Fortunately, with the launch of the Arts Ed Now campaign, residents now have many of the tools that are needed in order for coordinated, sustained action to take place.
Stay tuned for updates and check campaign central often (weekly, daily…or hourly!) to see what is taking place across the state. The website, www.artsednow.org, will continue to highlight the ongoing advocacy efforts of ambassadors throughout the multi-year campaign in New Jersey. You will also see ways to connect to the national network of advocates that remain active on social media. For example, this October, in honor of Arts and Humanities month, we invite you to continue expressing your support for the arts by joining the Americans for the Arts #showyourart social media campaign. Highlight works of art from the daily theme graphic, using the hashtags #artsednow and #showyourart.
Arts Ed Now launched this September, but it will be part of New Jersey’s schools and communities for years to come!