Photo courtesy of ART=OPPORTUNITY
There are plenty of studies that say teaching kids art—and teaching other subjects using art—can have a measurable and lasting impact that follows kids their entire lives. Many tech giants, for instance, have found that liberal arts degrees aren’t so worthless after all and have hired hordes of former theater geeks and other arts majors.
“There’s been quite a bit of research out there that says basically that kids who participate in the arts do better,” said Merryl Goldberg, a music professor at California State University San Marcos. “But what I found is that the research isn’t enough.”
Goldberg said what’s missing is public awareness. She said there’s an ingrained feeling that the arts are fluff. With reports that President Donald Trump may have plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she said it’s more important than ever to emphasize arts’ power to educate.
Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Stuart Foundation, Goldberg’s set out to do just that. Alongside a team of other arts, education and business leaders, she’s helped launch ART=OPPORTUNITY, a campaign to help spread the message that the arts matter, big-time. The new program will include a series of summits throughout the San Diego region, special events, arts residencies and training for parents and teachers. At 4 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 2, for example, ART=OPPORTUNITY will host a discussion for local teachers on the power of music with Black Violin artists Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. A performance by Black Violin will follow.
“It’s just crazy cakes out there,” Goldberg said. “The bottom line is we want to change public opinion, and we’re hoping our campaign will be kind of like the next ‘Got Milk?’”
Goldberg said the campaign, plus other similar projects funded by the Stuart Foundation, could eventually lead to a far-reaching message that might start by influencing educators and parents, and spreading from there.
“I’m hoping after a while it will become something we don’t even own,” she said. “A national awareness campaign that hopefully will translate into more arts opportunities for kids in schools and communities.”
Kinsee Morlan is the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. Contact her directly at kinsee.morlan@