Art and music training continue to have a high correlation with positive outcomes for children from nontraditional backgrounds. It has been demonstrated that art training fosters the ability to think critically, develop imagination and enhance the wellbeing of young people. Students with arts backgrounds score better academically than their peers.

Additionally, arts training contributes strongly to the mental health of young people from elementary through the high school years. Positive social, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes correlate with involvement in the arts.

All too often, students that need this exposure the most are unable to access it because of the barriers of location, cost, and availability of world-class instruction.

The facts on this matter are clear. In 1999, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities released a report entitled, “Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning” (Heath & Roach, 1999). Key findings include:

  • Students with high levels of arts participation outperform “arts-poor” students by virtually every measure
  • High arts participation makes a more significant difference to students from low-income backgrounds than for high-income students
  • The probability of being “high arts” remains almost twice as high for students from economically advantaged families, and the probability of low arts involvement is about twice as high if one comes from an economically disadvantaged family

Additional research on the impact of income to arts exposure states (Loewenberg, 2017):

  • On a scale of 300, students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, which is often used as a proxy to identify low-income students, scored an average of 26 points lower in music than those not eligible and 22 points lower in visual arts, both statistically significant figures.
  • Some of the gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers may be explained by the fact that engaging with the arts outside of the classroom can, for some families, be prohibitively expensive.
  • “Kids that are doing well on the assessment tend to have more exposure to music and the arts [outside of school]. And those opportunities are often tied to family resources.”

Clarissa Creative Foundation is dedicated to bridging the gap between need and availability of superior art and music training so that the most needy students can experience the positive outcomes associated with its approach.

In addition, the Foundation will search for and develop the individuals that demonstrate a genius or special talent in the art disciplines to become the creative leaders for their generation.

Heath, S., & Roach, A. (1999). Imaginative actuality: Learning in the arts during nonschool hours. Chapter in E. Fiske (Ed.), Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. Washington DC: Arts Education Partnership and President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, 19-34.

Loewenberg, D. (2017).  New NAEP data: deep rifts in access to arts education.