Every week, Champions of Change are invited to the White House to share their ideas to win the future. Cleveland Orchestra Director of Education and Community Programs Joan Katz Napoli was included in a group of prestigious performing artists and leaders to share ideas about arts education.
President Obama believes that the arts and humanities should be part of the education of every child in America. The power of the arts and humanities to foster creativity in developing minds, to engage and motivate students in school and to prepare all children for productive futures is essential for the future of nation’s cultural and economic life. This is an extraordinary group of actors, teachers, principals, superintendents and organizations who are creating innovative programs across the country that are benefitting their local communities.
To see all their videos, click the links below:
- Giselle “Gigi” Antoni
- Patricia Arquette
- Rachael Leigh Cook
- Tim Daly
- Scott Dawson
- Minnie Driver
- Aaron P. Dworkin
- Omar Epps
- Ramon Gonzalez
- Christine Harrison
- Kevin Maxwell
- Robbie Owen
- Amy Rasmussen
- Joan Katz Napoli, Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Cleveland Orchestra
Prior to The Cleveland Orchestra, Joan worked in public television, first with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), then with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) where she was the national Director of K-12 Learning Services. Joan managed several award winning educational television programs and series for the PBS network including: Good Morning Ms. Toliver (Peabody Award 1993); Who Will Teach for America? (1992 Emmy-nominee); Futures with Jaime Escalante (Peabody Award 1991); and a prime-time special, Math: Who Needs It?
Here is the essay Joan wrote for the White House Champions of Change website:
Every Child Deserves an Arts-Rich EducationThis past Tuesday I was honored to be among those selected as arts education Champions of Change and to have the opportunity to talk with Administration officials from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education about the power of the arts to transform lives and ways to advance arts education.
Our group included school principals, arts education providers, and television and movie actors from the Creative Coalition, all of whom believe that a child’s education is not complete without the arts. We were greeted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, joined by Peter Cunningham, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept of Education, and our round table discussion was led by Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, Vice Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. (Don’t miss the 2011 PCAH report (PDF), Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.)
The Cleveland Orchestra is known throughout the world but one of its most important roles is as arts educator at home, in Cleveland, a city that has suffered with more than its fair share of foreclosures, job losses, population decline, and a struggling school district. To help create arts-rich schools while supporting them in reaching mandated state standards, The Cleveland Orchestra created its Learning Through Music (LTM) partnership program in 1997 with Cleveland-area elementary schools, working collaboratively with teachers and Orchestra musicians who serve as teaching artists to integrate music into the curriculum to strengthen teacher training and student learning in science, math, and language arts; engage an underserved population with symphonic music; and provide the opportunity for musicians to contribute to and gain a deeper understanding of the community. What we’ve found is that arts integration’s interdisciplinary approach is a “way in” for students across all demographics and learning abilities; arts integration inspires educators burned out by teaching to the test; and that arts-rich schools enjoy fewer behavior problems, increased attendance and higher graduation rates.
Cleveland is home to many other arts education providers including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Art, Playhouse Square, Young Audiences and a growing list of community organizations whose arts education programs provide access to quality arts experiences especially for those least able to afford them. An organization I helped found and currently serve as President of, the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium (CAEC), housed at Cleveland State University, convenes more than 60 cultural organizations, large and small, on a regular basis to address critical issues in arts education, share information and best practices, present community-wide events, and undertake joint projects and research to strengthen and promote the value of arts education throughout Northeast Ohio. CAEC’s professional development and networking sessions have become a major asset for arts educators and it supports an annual Creative Voices Arts Summit and Arts Education Luncheon that engages school and community leaders and funders in dialogue with local and national experts, provides a showcase for ‘what works’ and keeps arts education on the front burner in Cleveland.
Every child deserves the documented benefits of an arts-rich education. In-depth collaborations between community arts organizations and schools can make that dream a reality.