LA Fund and LAUSD Launch "Art Matters" to Support Complete Education for Students

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 11:00am

The new Metro Barbara Kruger-designed busThe LA Fund for Public Education announced today the launch of "Art Matters," a program to support increased funding for arts education throughout the Los Angeles.

The first of its kind, this citywide art exhibition and fundraising program seeks to raise both awareness of and funding for the development of innovative "arts integration" curricula for the Los Angeles Unified School District. To move the campaign, LA's most renowned artists will contribute work to buswraps and outdoor advertising locations throughout Los Angeles.

Despite a statewide funding crisis that has forced the District to cut nearly $1.5 billion from its annual operating budget, LAUSD is pursuing a bold strategy to ensure that arts education is part of the core curriculum every student receives.   On October 9, board member Nury Martinez will introduce an "Arts at the Core" resolution to ensure District policy supports a comprehensive approach to arts education.  Proceeds from the Arts Matter campaign will support the implementation of the resolution.  "I am so proud that Los Angeles' greatest artists, our corporate partners and community have stepped up in such a unique way to support arts education for our students," said Martinez. 

"Arts education is critical for helping students develop creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities," said LA Fund Chair, Megan Chernin.  "In a district with nearly 80% of our student population living in poverty, in the heart of the world's creative capital, it is our imperative to ensure our public school students have the resources they need to prepare them for college and their careers."

Many studies completed in the last several years demonstrate the role arts education plays in teaching and developing the "whole" student, from reinforcing core competencies in math and reading to fostering management of emotions and self-confidence.  Furthermore, education rich in the arts is particularly effective among low income students, who have demonstrated higher test scores, increased rates of graduation, and better attendance through participation in arts programs.

"The future will belong to creative problem solvers, and this terrific campaign will help prepare the next generation of those unique and valuable colleagues.   That just might be the most valuable contribution we can make to the generation that comes after us," said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, the program's lead sponsor. 

The Arts Matter campaign will be concentrated into four separate 4-week "flights" utilizing city buses and hundreds of billboards, bus shelters, wall postings, mall media and bulletins.  The first flight launches with the work of Los Angeles-based artist Barbara Kruger.  Her bus wrap, entitled "School Bus," and two additional works of art have been commissioned and will appear throughout Los Angeles during October 2012.  Known her bold, eye-catching format and philosophical themes, Kruger's art for Arts Matter features her signature style and addresses directly and urgently the importance of education, especially in the arts.  ForYourArt produced the public art initiative on the LA Fund's behalf.

Barbara Kruger-designed bus

Kruger's bus design, in use today, features bold statements in support of education and the arts:

  • "Art is heavy as sorrow, light as a breeze, as bright as an idea, as pretty as a picture, as funny as money, and as fugitive as fraud."
  • "Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
  • "Prejudices…are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones."

"As the center of the creative economy, every LA student should receive the benefits of daily creative learning.  Whether in a college classroom or in the job market, creativity is essential to succeeding in today's world," said LAUSD Superintendent, John Deasy. "I want to thank the LA Fund for spearheading this important campaign, which will bring further attention to the pressing need for robust arts education in all Los Angeles schools."

"The LA Fund's Arts Matter campaign performs a great service for our community," said CEO DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. "It brings a bright focus to the fact that arts education is crucial for the success of our vibrant creative economy – if there is no arts education, there can be no companies like DreamWorks Animation. But, beyond this, Arts Matter also reminds us that exposure to the arts is essential for any truly meaningful education. The arts give us a deeper understanding of our world and of ourselves. We must fight to keep them alive and well in our public schools."

Barbara Kruger-designed bus

Multi-platinum recording star Justin Bieber will play a leading role in the "Arts Matter" social media campaign, mobilizing his tens of millions of followers to support robust arts education. "Believe in your dreams. Arts Matter," says Bieber.  People can participate in the campaign via Twitter (@LAFund), Facebook (www.facebook.com/lafund), Tumblr (http://lafund.tumblr.com), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/losangelesfund) and the LA Fund's website (www.lafund.org/#arts-matter).