turned my passion into a vocation and am now serving as the executive
director of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn.
In September 2002, Senator Jack Scott asked me to testify before
the California Joint Committee on the Arts. I was privileged to share
the microphone with many distinguished speakers, including actresses
Helen Hunt and Debbie Allen, as well as Superintendent of Public
Instruction Delaine Eastin. We were all speaking about the important
relationship between the arts and academic learning in California's
K-12 public school system. I would like to share some of the points I
made at that hearing.
The Glendale Unified School District's strategic plan in the
visual and performing arts states that the arts are one of the most
essential and most basic forms of language, powerfully extending the
range of human expression. In this time of economic downturn, we are
again in danger of losing our arts programs, and I am very concerned.
School administrators and school boards across the nation are being
forced to make choices between art classes and new sprinklers; sports
and drama; smaller classes in math and English or music.
Because the arts are not specifically addressed on standardized
tests by which public schools are being measured, it is unlikely that
their funding will not be cut. In fact, it is typically the first
thing to be cut, and yet the visual and performing arts make our
school experience richer and better. Each year the evidence builds a
stronger and stronger case for the arts. Why are they important?
* The arts support California's economy.
California's arts are a $2.5-billion-per-year economic engine that
contributes more than $200 million in local and state taxes.
Public schools prepare the future workforce. Having workers
trained in the arts is essential in a state where the top industries
are tourism, high tech and entertainment.
* The arts build communities.
The Art Standards (in-state content standards) reflect the
multiplicity of cultures represented in California schools. They