A strong arts education promotes the skills children need to be successful. Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning, improves school attendance and sharpens critical and creative skills. In fact, several recent studies have concluded that the creativity and innovation utilized in the artistic process will be highly valued by employers in the United States in the coming years as we continue to shift into a global economy.
Teachers are the first to point out how creative arts programs have strongly influenced their students' self-image and increased their academic success in the areas of math, science and the language arts. But sadly, during these difficult economic times, arts programs are the first to be sacrificed. In addition, in many schools where classroom space is limited, art "studios" are now only contained in a cart that is wheeled by teachers from room to room, severely limiting the arts education students receive.
Many community organizations support the arts, but none more so than the The Children's Trust, our partner in supporting this art exhibit. The Children's Trust realizes the importance of designing and maintaining arts education programs which are culturally enriching, stimulate creative expression, build self-esteem and improve academic achievement. In addition to the more than $1 million in arts programs directly funded by The Children's Trust, a $1 million grant to the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs funded 68 community arts programs in 2007.
For 17 years, Ocean Bank's support of The Education Fund's Ocean Bank Center of Educational Materials has leveraged more than $5.8 million in donated art and school supplies, benefiting more than 525,000 students. Ocean Bank's commitment includes a belief that we must foster the creativity and imagination of our children and that the arts play a vital role in that development.
To ensure support for visual arts in the schools, Ocean Bank sponsors both this exhibition and The Education Fund's Art of Found Objects Charity Auction, which raises thousands of dollars for visual arts programs in our public schools.
In a community as diverse as ours, the arts serve as an essential bridge across language and cultural differences. They become the shared link, the glue that shapes our understanding of how we see ourselves and each other. In giving children the materials and the freedom to create through The Education Fund's Art of Found Objects Exhibition and Charity Art Auction, we celebrate our children, their families, the schools they attend, and our community.
Please give us your opinion on the importance of Arts Education, by taking a few minutes to complete our short survey on the importance of Arts Education.