Building a Holistic Narrative About Arts Education


The education landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years due to national and global events, and these shifts brought new and increased awareness about supporting young people not only in their learning but also for their social and emotional well-being. For decades, arts education leaders have aimed to expand our narrative about the value of arts education beyond academic impacts, but it’s more vital now than ever to double down on the shift to show how the arts holistically contribute to a young person’s academic, community and social experiences. This session identifies strategies to communicate the comprehensive value of arts education — including research, data and storytelling — and elevate the role of arts education in policymaking.


Brian Kisida, Assistant Professor, University of Missouri
Paul Sznewajs, Executive Director, Ingenuity
Ruth Mercado-Zizzo, Vice President of Programs and Equity, EdVestors
Sunil Iyengar, Research and Analysis Director, National Endowment for the Arts
Thalia Goldstein, Assistant Professor, George Mason University

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Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits