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Arts Education Now. Innovative Minds Tomorrow.

Learning through the arts is vital for the development of critical thinking skills amongst students at every level of their education. In Seattle, a public-private partnership that includes Seattle Public Schools, the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), the Seattle Foundation, community arts and culture organizations, and teaching artists is working to give every child the opportunity to develop those skills. The Creative Advantage is Seattle Public Schools’ Arts Plan, and its vision is one in which every student at every school has the opportunity to learn through the arts, every year from kindergarten through 12th grade. ArtsFund grantees Pacific Northwest Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Jack Straw Productions, SIFF, EMP Museum and Seattle Symphony are among some of the Creative Advantage’s community arts partners.

In March 2013, the Creative Advantage began implementation in the Central Arts Pathway – all schools that feed into and out of Washington Middle School. In the first year alone, 1,659 elementary students attended music classes that otherwise would not have been available. By the 2015-16 school year, every K-5 student in the nine Central Pathway elementary schools will have music instruction, and all thirteen schools will continue to receive resources to support community arts partnerships. In addition to increasing arts instruction in the pilot schools, the Creative Advantage is addressing systemic barriers to student access to arts and ensuring that every student at every SPS school has the opportunity to learn through the arts every year.

In Mayor Murray’s 2016 Proposed Budget to the City Council, delivered September 28, 2015, he outlined an increase to the Admission Tax allocation for ARTS, increasing investment in youth and in cultural space. The 2016 proposal expands the Creative Advantage to an additional 10 schools this school year, increasing the program’s total reach to 23 schools.

“We know students learn best when their education engages their heads, their hearts and their hands. The Creative Advantage is a shining example of the district, the City and the community collaborating to give all students access to a well-rounded education.” – Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools

“We must invest in our students’ ability to problem solve, collaborate, think outside of the box and persevere. These are exactly the kinds of skills that are developed through arts education.” – Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

The program is already making a difference for students. Walter, an 18-year-old student at Seattle World School, shares the impact of having access to learning through the arts: “I like choir because I learn a lot of words and their pronunciations. It helps with my English, like understanding words in math class or understanding the meaning of a song.”

Myriad studies show the impact early access to the arts can have on our young people. Students who have arts-rich experiences show higher overall GPA than students who lack those experiences, and access to arts education is also shown to narrow the opportunity gap between low-socioeconomic status groups and their peers. The Creative Advantage is working to provide arts education opportunities to every student in Seattle, making an investment today that will result in a big difference tomorrow.

To learn more about The Creative Advantage, click here.

The Creative Advantage: Arts Education Now. Innovative Minds Tomorrow.
*All quotes courtesy of the Creative Advantage.