A New Era in the Arts
By Sandra Jackson-Dumont
As I take my post as the chairman of education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), I am inspired by the commitment my new professional home has shown for student learning in and through the arts.
In 2011 the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities published a report entitled Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools. The report highlighted an ongoing challenge that schools, cultural institutions and communities alike have been addressing for decades. In the forward Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education writes, “Education In The Arts is more important than ever. In the global economy, creativity is essential. Today’s workers need more than just skills and knowledge to be productive and innovative participants in the workforce. Just look at the inventors of the iPhone and the developers of Google: they are innovative as well as intelligent. Through their combination of knowledge and creativity, they have transformed the way we communicate, socialize, and do business. Creative experiences are part of the daily work life of engineers, business managers, and hundreds of other professionals. To succeed today and in the future, America’s children will need to be inventive, resourceful, and imaginative. The best way to foster that creativity is through arts education.” Several years later, access and equity related to a robust and complex arts education for all young people remains a topic of great import.
With its exceptional collections, exhibitions, and education programs, the Met is in a unique position to foster deep experiential learning alongside cultural and critical exchange through a global lens. Bursting at the seams with some of the most incredible thought leaders in art, culture and community engagement, the Met is more than a field trip. It is a site for creative learning and active nourishing of youth voice. We hope for the Met to function like a room in your school.
Since, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities published Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools I have referenced it countless times as the points in the report resonated so profoundly and honestly felt like a grand challenge. Duncan make the following research based point that speaks to why the arts art so important in a contemporaneous sense. He says, “Visual arts instruction improves reading readiness, and learning to play a musical instrument or to master musical notation helps students to succeed in math. Reading, math, and writing require students to understand and use symbols –– and so does assembling shapes and colors in a portrait or using musical notes to learn fractions. Experiences in the arts are valuable on their own, but they also enliven learning of other subjects, making them indispensable for a complete education in the 21st Century.”
Knowing that there is no silver bullet or single entity that can solve the issue of education reform, we are invested in a collective impact model that harnesses great creative and civic minds to foster compelling, rigorous and fun learning resulting in healthy communities for all.
I am particularly thrilled to return to NYC at this critical moment of innovation, creativity, and experimentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as in NYC as a whole. I could not be more excited to collaborate with the teachers, artists, and communities on learning experiences both in and out of school addressing the needs of students and teachers.
I invite you to join us at the Met as we stand tall in making art central to student learning and continue makes more apparent the links between art, youth and issues of concern to the public.
Sandra Jackson-Dumont is the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.