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Arts Ed NJ Launches Pilot Youth Arts Education Advocacy Council and Announces Two Youth Summits in April 2024

originally published: 02/16/2024

Arts Ed NJ Launches Pilot Youth Arts Education Advocacy Council and Announces Two Youth Summits in April 2024

(BURLINGTON, NJ) -- Arts Ed NJ is excited to announce a new pilot initiative, the Youth Arts Education Council. Arts Ed NJ, the statewide unifying arts education advocacy organization and central resource for arts education information and policy in New Jersey, has recruited a dynamic group of 11 dedicated high school student arts leaders who are supported by 35 student council members all passionate about advocating for arts education across New Jersey.

This initiative will be led by Arts Ed NJ staff along with facilitators Italy Ja'rae Lee and Liv Belasco, both alumni of the prestigious NJ Governor’s Awards in Arts Education for spoken word and advocacy. With a mission to amplify youth voices and drive progress in arts education, the Council will serve as a catalyst for positive change in the state.

The Youth Arts Education Council leaders will spearhead various initiatives to engage and mobilize members within their school communities. One of the primary objectives is to create mini-cohorts within counties, districts, and schools dedicated to advocating for arts education and working to foster a statewide culture of creativity and expression. Additionally, council leaders will establish in-school public relations teams tasked with promoting visual and performing arts department exhibits and performances, showcasing the talent and creativity of students statewide.

A cornerstone of the council's activities is the planning and execution of a two-part virtual Youth Arts Education Summit, scheduled to take place on April 20th and 27th from 10:00am - 2:00pm. This summit will provide a platform for students from across New Jersey to come together, learn and exchange ideas, and advocate for the importance of arts education in their lives and communities.

"We are thrilled to be able to launch the Youth Arts Education Council and empower student leaders to champion arts education in New Jersey, with funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts," said Wendy Liscow, Executive Director of Arts Ed NJ. "Arts education programs in schools have a direct and profound impact on youth, and student voices and perspectives are essential in advocating for the continuation and expansion of arts education both in and out of school. They can share firsthand experiences of how arts education has positively influenced their lives, academic performance, and personal development.” Additionally, said Monifa Kincaid, Arts Ed NJ Community Activator and Council staff leader, “ by empowering youth to become advocates, we cultivate a new generation of leaders who will continue to champion the value of arts education in their communities, now and into the future.”



 
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This initiative is particularly crucial for New Jersey because it addresses a pressing need for quality arts education in the state. Despite NJ's rich cultural heritage, many schools face challenges in providing robust arts programs due to budget constraints and competing priorities. By empowering students to advocate for arts education, we not only ensure that every child in NJ has access to a well-rounded education that includes access to arts education but also strengthen the state's current and future creative economy. 

Arts Ed NJ is the leading statewide organization dedicated to promoting and supporting arts education for all students. By advocating for policies and programs that prioritize arts learning, Arts Ed NJ strives to ensure that every student in New Jersey has the opportunity to engage in the arts and unlock their creative potential.

Arts Ed NJ is funded by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Grunin Foundation, MacMillan Foundation, the NJ Cultural Trust, New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund, and many individual supporters.


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