Student inspires first district-wide arts fest
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) held a two-week festival celebrating the arts that began March 1 through Saturday, March 15, 2014.
In honor of Arts Education Month, the District showcased student art across multiple disciplines during the Arts Fest, including music, dance, film, theatre and visual arts in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of arts education as well as raise funds to support arts programs at both the individual school site and district-wide.
The Arts Fest celebration kicked off with school-site performances, leading to a grand finale event.
On Saturday, March 15, in partnership with LA County’s Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles, the District hosted a culminating festival, “LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park,” where more than 2,000 students had performed. The “LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park” was held in front of City Hall beginning at 10 a.m. It featured live stages with student performances; an artist market; a “screening room” featuring student short films; a creativity zone; a mass performance to Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn”; an opportunity drawing for student art; vendor booths, celebrity appearances, food trucks and giveaways.
The idea for the Arts Fest came from Hamilton High School freshman, Jordyn Sacino, who asked the question – “why not use art to save art?” Last year, LAUSD challenged its students in the “My Bright Idea” Challenge to come up with programs they would like to see in the District that promotes positivity. Jordyn’s suggestion towered above the rest.
The event was to showcase the talent of students in “such an amazing public forum” said Michelle King, Senior Deputy Superintendent, School Operations. “This festival gave us the opportunity to proudly celebrate the accomplishments of our students with our parents, employees, business partners and the community while providing a platform to show what a positive role arts plays in the lives of young people.”
Studies have shown that arts education has a significant and direct impact on student achievement. It has been shown to improve test scores in all subjects and improve graduation rates, particularly for low performing students, allowing them to develop higher self-esteem and self-confidence.
“Because art has such a broad and powerful impact on our society, we must continue to raise awareness of its importance and influence in our schools and beyond,” said Dr. Steven McCarthy, K-12 Arts Coordinator.
LAUSD was joined by its partner ‘I’M IN’ in hosting the event. The “I’M IN” campaign is an all-inclusive program designed to raise awareness about LAUSD’s wellness initiatives to fight childhood obesity, as well as to encourage student attendance and dropout prevention.