#WeAllDeserveArts: Shekhinah B. – Executive Director, Women’s Coalition for Empowerment

December 18, 2020

Know Art Know Life, No Art No Life

Not enough people are informed about the transformative power of the arts, sadly that includes legislators, institutional stakeholders, and silent citizens. We must acknowledge how financially beneficial the arts and culture sector is to the US economy; $877 billion as of 2017 (1).  The multi-billion contribution in dollars amounts to jobs, construction, tourism, and cultural exchanges, all of which perpetuates the evolution of our civilization.  

The arts produce legacy-building symbols that outline a part of history meant to incite societal pride.  Belief systems were inspired by the implementation of paintings, buildings, and edifices which tell the stories of historical figures, deities, and architectural significance.  To remove the core educational existence of the history that brought us where we are today, would be a crime against humanity.  According to the United Nations, a crime against humanity is a “systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack” (2). Under both Ronald Regan (3) and Donald Trump (45) conservative leaders have made a clear stance against the continuation against national art funding, and while citizens continue to exercise their voices to preserve art, the uphill battle ensues. 

The very essence of what separates human beings from animals is our creative contributions to preserve the perpetuation of our development; both in symbolic form, literature, musings, and procreation. The fruition of our labors and contributions to the world are the children, tomorrow’s leaders.  Children are the future, if they are not exposed to the arts as a core subject in their education, the school districts would deprive them from fully appreciating the history of their predecessors. Our competencies thrive in an environment of advancing language, communication, culture, and morality.  The psychological development of humanity depends on the implementation of arts education. 

According to a research study conducted by the University of Cambridge, The Art of Co-Creating Arts-Based Possibility Spaces for Fostering STE(A)M Practices in Primary Education“Intuition stimulates imagination, which acts as an organizing process that creates representations of our learning experiences. Thus, imagination becomes a modeling device through which we can test possibilities and co-create enabling possibility spaces” (6).  An ongoing shared learning space with the inclusion of creative constructive learning yielded positive outcomes from the study, resulting in ground-breaking approaches to position Art as a comparable and useful science along with math, engineering, and technology. 

Too many people have quietly sat by and watched the arts being ripped out of schools, funding priorities, and commercial eco-systems. The impact of removing the arts from schools will certainly be monumental destruction for the future leaders of our evolving world.  Instead, we must nurture efforts to support and enhance art education throughout institutions world-wide. According to research, students exposed to art education are more likely to succeed in school, and eventually thrive in the workforce (7).  However, regardless of the research demonstrating the benefits of art, there has been a decline in access to arts education in primary & secondary schools (8).  The lack of prioritizing art education funding in schools has been and will continue to be cataclysmic to our children’s future more so in BIPOC communities (9).  Children deserve an opportunity for enriched culturally responsive art education, to deny arts education to youth is to deny them a future.  



Shekhinah B. is a change-maker in the nonprofit and creative cultural sector.  She is an avant-gardist using creativity to connect communities, highlight emerging artists, and amplify underrepresented voices.  As an independent consultant and speaker, she uses her platforms to empower underserved populations. 
  1. https://nasaa-arts.org/nasaa_research/facts-figures-on-the-creative-economy/
  2. https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/crimes-against-humanity.shtml
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/1982/02/03/arts/reagan-expected-to-cut-spending-for-the-arts.html
  4. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/68?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22national+endowment+for+the+arts%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1
  5. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/trump-proposes-eliminating-nea-and-neh-again-1774236
  6. https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/274063/Rivers_Publication_STEAM_chapter_9788793609372C11.pdf?sequence=1
  7. https://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/networks-and-councils/arts-education-network/tools-resources/arts-ed-navigator/facts-figures
  8. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012014rev.pdf
  9. https://www.giarts.org/article/not-just-money-equity-issues-cultural-philanthropy

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