Text: Arts Are Essential

#ArtsAreEssential Testimonials


The #ArtsAreEssential campaign is growing. Take a look at some familiar faces showing up and speaking out in support of arts education funding. We’ll be sharing these tremendous testimonials now through June 30 on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.

As New York City rebuilds from the COVID-19 crisis, the arts and culture sector will play a crucial role in the recovery of schools and communities. In allocating cuts and resources, City Council must put their faith in the arts to help process trauma, restore joy, support physical fitness, and build communities. We need your voice as we advocate together to keep arts education funding in the City’s 2020/21 budget. Inspired to take action? You can…

  1. Call your City Council and tell them #ArtsAreEssential! Click here to get started.
  2. Help Others Take Action With Us (in under 10 minutes): Our goal is to have individuals and organizations post their support on social media with #ArtsAreEssential. Our team has created a toolkit with social media images and text to make sharing the message easier than ever. Click here to access the toolkit.


Check Out Famous Faces that Support Funding for Arts Education

Legislative Briefing: Arts Are Essential in Our Schools

Alec Baldwin


Anthony Ramos


Christopher Jackson


Javier Muñoz

Leslie Odom, Jr.


Okieriete "Oak" Onaodowan


Rebecca Miller


Renée Elise Goldsberry

Phillipa Soo


Sasha Hutchings


Thayne Jasperson


Uplifting Arts Teacher Voices and Stories

Catherine Blades

Donzell Evans


Kelly Brady


Linda Key


Lisanne Shaffer

Samantha Weisberg


Leaders in the arts lent their support to the effort:

  • “Arts education is synonymous with community activism,” said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO, Ballet Hispanico. “Without arts educators, I would have been another statistic as a young Latinx child growing up in a tough neighborhood. The arts, in particular dance, saved me. The arts fill a void in communities forgotten, artists go into spaces others fear, and in that bravery, offer safety, possibility and transformation.”


  • “New York City’s museums, performing arts and cultural institutions dedicate themselves to arts education, knowing this work is crucial for our communities to flourish,” said Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. “But we also know we cannot succeed in this work without our essential partners: New York City’s schools. For the sake of our young people and our neighborhoods, for the sake of equity, for the sake of New York’s future, we ask that arts education in the schools be a funding priority.”


  • “The arts give us a crucial social education– teaching us about ourselves, our cultural histories; they teach us empathy and collaboration,” said Chinita Pointer, Executive Director of the Noel Pointer Foundation. “We must fight for every New York child to have equal access to the arts, to great teachers, to the cultural institutions in their backyards. Arts education is the backbone of a just world, and it is not optional.”


  • “That we as a society and as a city still have to stand up and advocate to save the arts in education in the twenty-first century is unconscionable.  As always, the conversation on whether or not to defund art programs is an equity conversation that disproportionately falls on the shoulders of communities of color.  Wealthy white communities are never faced with having to have this conversation; nor are their children ever truly threatened with having to do without the arts, creativity, collaboration and imagination as part of their lives and learning,” said Jason Duchin and Tim Lord, Co-Executive Directors, DreamYard.  “Time and time again it is the public school system and the communities of color throughout NYC that have to carry the burden of defunding art programs which are essential components of every child’s education.”


  • “Arts and culture provide an outlet and environment in which to cope with stress, conflict, sorrow, and trauma; never is the need to express ourselves more urgent than during crisis,” said Laura Raicovich, Interim Director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. “Cultural programming  is crucial to recovery in every way. We have not all borne the weight of this crisis equally- we must not bear the weight of financial cuts inequitably as well. A crucial way to support our communities is through arts education; the City Council and City Hall must protect our city’s arts teachers and its creative youth.”


  • “The impact of the arts goes beyond creative expression. It is necessary for the development of each student so they can be better, empathetic contributors to the world. If we don’t support theater education now, we risk the chance of not inspiring the next generation of innovative artists and leaders,” said Jelani Alladin, Broadway Artist. “The theater is a crucial, safe space for all our youth to express themselves collaboratively, and develop lifelong skills of empathy.”


Students and teachers also weighed in:

  • “Theater is a big part of my life. Without it, I don’t know that I would be happy. It is my passion, and what I intend to pursue. With all the hardships that come with high school and home life, rehearsals and being on stage is a safe space,” said Esme Mitchell, a Freshman at Curtis High School in Staten Island. “There is nothing that compares to that feeling of being able to present the hard work of you and your cast live on a stage. Not only that, but being able to collaborate and learn from professional performers, with opportunities such as the Shubert Festival is truly amazing and inspiring. I hope that this program remains next year.”


  • “Arts education is important for every child to have, whether or not they want to pursue it as a career,” said Ella Rosewood, Dance Teacher at I.S. 347 School of Humanities in Bushwick. “Having the opportunity to see themselves as a performer boosts their confidence, and that in turn translates into the classroom and into other parts of their life. Dance and the arts complete the whole child.”


  • “Our school thrives on the arts,” said Rachel McCaulsky, Arts Coordinator at P396K in Brownsville. “The arts are not only an outlet for our students, it is something that carries across all aspects of their lives. In our school, arts education is not just a single class during the day, it’s embedded into our entire curriculum as it’s a way to tap into each child’s different learning style.”



NYC AiE Roundtable