-[Voiceover] The ability to express, through dance and music
and visual arts is amazing.
Every child should have an opportunity to do that.
-[Voiceover] By them participating and producing a work of
art, in their own ways, it gives them a chance to succeed.
-[Voiceover] Through telling their stories,
they learn about themselves.
-[Ian] I sometimes use color in my drawings,
but usually it's without color.
I started when I was quite young,
like two or three years old.
It can help you focus before a big test at school,
or you can do it when you're stressed out.
It just helps you think.
I do gymnastics and I didn't make it to State last year,
cause I was very very, like tense,
and I didn't do that well.
-[Douglas] He would be phenomenal halfway through a
competition, and something would happen where if he
had one error, or two errors, it would
get to him, naturally.
A lot of athletes have this issue.
The coaching staff allowed him to pull out his
drawing pad and draw during competitions.
-[Ian] It just, like, helps calm me and makes me feel
just like tune out the world and just focus on
one thing instead of how you're going to do,
and what's your score going to be on the podium.
It just calms me.
This year, when I drew, I got the top score in
my age division, and I qualified really, really easily.
- It allows him to not worry about what could happen,
and letting all of his emotions and feelings come
out on a pen and pad.
And at the end of the season,
his performance dramatically improved.
-[Rosa] The arts are so important,
because it addresses the needs of the whole child.
I see the correlation between academic achievement,
creativity, and the arts.
-[Benjamin] A student might find his voice within the arts,
and it might start off as a whisper,
and it slowly progresses into a steady, solid voice
that they can express themselves.
-[Christian] I've seen the magic that takes place.
Someone who hears for the first time your story matters.
That is revolutionary in a young person's life.
-[Jordyn] I love to read and love to write,
and love to dance.
Dancing helps me get friends and it feels so good to
get mean stuff and sad stuff out of me.
-[Shantaria] She's always been an outgoing kid,
ever since she was small, very happy baby.
When it was time for her to actually start school,
she's very excited about her first day
of school, things like that.
-[Jordyn] What's this word?
- Uh huh, a baby rattle.
- And she was actually bullied by two different girls
the entire school year.
And she kind of became introverted,
and she didn't want to go to school anymore,
her schoolwork started to fail a little bit.
- I get bullied a lot and it makes me sad and mad.
It's bad for other people to get bullied and
then they don't want to go back to school no more.
- We had to learn how to teach her,
when you're frustrated or when you're angry and you
can't express it, the one thing you can do is
get in front of a mirror, on a wood floor,
and dance it out until you can.
And it kept her motivated.
She actually got, the second quarter,
she got hundreds every week,
until the end of the school year.
And I owe it to dance.
-[Jordyn] I really love dancing, and I'm
never going to stop dancing.
And when I grow up, I'm still going to be a dancer.
-[Alfredo] Arts education is an integral part of students'
ability to learn.
Students' ability to access, not just the curriculum,
but also the world.
-[Rosa] It just gives them a huge boost of confidence,
that will support them through life.
-[Christian] They can get that empowerment,
tell their story, and perhaps find a career path.
-[Andrew] Art is really something that adorns and brings
beauty, it's really influenced school,
and lots of things in my life.
The Composer Fellowship program was something I discovered
through my youth orchestra I played in when I was
eleven years old.
I got really excited, I looked up the requirements.
I had to submit about ten different pieces with scores,
the sheet music, and the recordings.
-[Gretchen] Andrew's been in the program for a year.
It's infrequent that we take incoming freshmen into
this program, but his work blew us away.
He's got, he's got something very special.
Both musically based, but also as a human being.
- I do school online, I love it.
I've done it since the sixth grade.
This is my world right here, this is my canvas.
Where things are written down.
The entire orchestra performed
a piece of mine in February, and it was just unreal.
I've never dreamed of anything like that.
- It's both about artistry and musicianship,
and the technicality, but also about citizenship,
and sharing yourself with the world in a larger way.
- Art greatly influences other aspects of life,
especially in a school situation.
Art in general, whether it be drawing, painting,
singing, doing music, allows for passion and some
deep part of you just to be expressed.
-[Christian] The arts are vital.
People's stories are precious, and increasingly
arts funding has been slashed and cut throughout
the public school system in our country.
-[Rosa] Why is it an option?
Why do we have to apply for grants to provide
arts for our children?
It shouldn't be that way.
It's just as valuable as math, and reading, and science,
and if we don't voice that concern,
and if we don't demand the arts for our schools,
it's not going to happen.
We have to be a voice for our students.
-[Alfredo] There has to be something in our educational
policies that says arts education is fundamental,
arts education is essential.
We need all levels of government to see that
importance and to be able to provide this kind of funding.
-[Voiceover] Our economy, our future depends on
providing students and citizens who are capable,
who are thinking, and who are making decisions
about our world.
- Art is the pathway to experiencing deep beauty
in this world, and so many children today
have very, very little access to that.