This week I focused on researching two local programs working to combat arts inequality in my community: North Carolina Arts in Action (NC AIA) and Kidznotes.
NC AIA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “empower children in elementary schools statewide through dance and live music programs accessible to all students regardless of abilities and socio-economic status”. This program was originally founded in New York by former New York City Ballet principal dancer, Jaques d’Amboise, and later branched out to North Carolina. This program provides integrated dance classes to elementary schoolers in North Carolina public schools. These programs aim to provide exposure to various dance styles and the opportunity to participate in classes and performances. NC AIA works to bridge racial and socioeconomic gaps in the dance community so that every child is able to learn dance regardless of their background.
Kidznotes is a similar local program that focuses on bringing musical education to underserved communities. They state that their mission is to “catalyz[e] social change by providing comprehensive music education, leadership opportunities, and character-building experiences to children with the fewest resources and the greatest need”. Kidznotes aims to empower communities around musical collaboration and overcome economic barriers.
Both NC AIA and Kidznotes have conducted research and found that participation in dance and music improves students’ academic performance, motivation to learn, and collaboration among other things. These findings demonstrate how opportunities to participate in the arts are not only beneficial to students’ artistic education, but are also essential to their academic education and their developments as people. These programs are paving the way for more inclusive arts education in my community, and I am excited to learn more about them, as well as about other similar programs.