Children’s Creative Project Celebrates National Arts in Education Week September 13-19

National Arts in Education Week, September 13-19, recognizes the meaningful and positive impact a strong arts education program provides for students of all ages. 

The Children’s Creative Project (CCP), a nonprofit program run by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, supports arts education in schools throughout the county.  It continues to bring the arts to classrooms as youth engage in remote instruction.

Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Salcido, explained, “The arts are an essential part of a comprehensive education.  Students of all ages—from the youngest learners to those in high school and beyond—benefit from visual and performing arts instruction which fosters critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.  We deeply value the role the arts play in developing the whole person and are pleased to support our local arts programs.”

One example of CCP’s work is a program conducted at Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD)  where 46 classes in the district’s four elementary schools will take part in 36 workshops this year.  Students in grades K-5 will enjoy learning from CCP’s artists in dance, vocal music, theater or visual arts.  While schools are providing distance-only instruction, these workshops will be presented using live Zoom or as prerecorded sessions.  CUSD’s program is part of CCP’s Resident Artist Workshops program offered to schools and districts throughout Santa Barbara County.

Genevieve Badone Assili, owner of LA MAMMA ~ Creative, and vice president of CCP’s board, said she benefitted from arts education as a local student.  “When I reflect on what helped me choose a creative path, participating in workshops and events sponsored by the Children’s Creative Project is one of the experiences that shines the brightest,” she said. 

“Arts education isn’t just instructing kids to make, do, or replicate, it’s about the creative process, giving each student access to what’s possible.  Art, whether you’re the artist or the viewer, gives one the power to confront, explore and challenge how we think about the world, while simultaneously fostering a deep appreciation for beauty, culture and authenticity,” she said.

CCP supports youth countywide in significant ways.  During the 2019-20 school year, CCP provided support and activities in the following ways, doing so in person until the school closure in March, and via distance learning since that time:

  • 400 performances by multicultural touring companies for 44,400 children at 86 school sites.
  • Free annual performance events, co-presented with Santa Barbara Bowl Outreach, such as the 2019 performance by the Kingdom Choir from England, which dazzled 2,500 elementary and secondary students with its music.
  • Visual and performing arts workshops conducted by resident artists during school hours for more than 33,500 elementary students at 74 school sites. 
  • A $200 arts credit for each public school to help offset performance fees. 

Roosevelt Elementary School used CCP’s arts credit for special events throughout the school year. “We started the year with the Bully Dudes which really helped to set the stage for the staff and administration to promote the schools anti-bullying message,” said Jason Saltoun-Ebin, Roosevelt’s Cultural Arts Chair. 

“Next we had Boxtales perform their bilingual program ‘Magical Tales from Latin America’ and what a magical show it was! The students couldn't stop laughing while learning some very wise folklores. We finished the year with a virtual performance from Cascada de Flores that the students were able to watch safely at home. Thanks again to CCP -- there's no way we could have had all these great performances without their help!" 

Artist and dancer Meredith Cabaniss has seen students’ lives transformed by learning skills that help them better express themselves.  She said, “Arts education offers us all a chance to be able to not only find new ways of engaging with the world but also with each other. Students who may be shy or lack confidence may find they can do amazing things.  Witnessing children having these amazing breakthroughs in their creativity and the way they feel about themselves as they learn valuable skills is the best thing that I could hope to do in my job.”

Since 2010, National Arts in Education Week is celebrated every September.  During this week, communities across the country join together to tell the story of the impact and transformative power of the arts in education.  These testimonials demonstrate why it has such power.

#BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek