Designated by Congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week celebrates the cultural and education communities coming together to appreciate the power of the arts in education to transform our communities, schools, teaching, and learning. As school is back in session, we reflect on the role of arts education in our lives and how it has contributed to making us the people we are today. DNACA is proud, humbled, and grateful to play a part in that role here in our community and has since 1981.

The research is undeniable: when schools and communities embrace the arts, students benefit, educators are more effective, and learning communities are revolutionized. Youth who participate in the arts are more likely to be successful in school, college, and career than their peers who did not have arts education. However, the same research indicates a racial gap indicating that arts education is an equity issue.

In order to reap the benefits of arts-rich schools and arts-infused communities for all members, we must focus on increasing access and inclusivity, particularly for students who are typically disenfranchised. Additionally, we must focus our efforts on broadening and diversifying the leadership pipeline so that our arts educators, cultural program leaders, and our community’s artists reflect the communities in which they are working.

As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should take pause to cheer for our accomplishments and also remember the work we have to do. How can we support parents, families, and the community in providing more opportunities for arts education? It’s up to us to take a stand and take the lead. We can start during this year’s National Arts in Education Week, Sept. 9-15. How do you envision the future?

Stephanie Wenning,

executive director

Del Norte Association for Cu ltural Awareness