3. Do you believe arts are essential to NYC public school education? Why or why not?
I fully believe that the arts are essential to NYC public school education. Having an outlet for children to express themselves is very important to the health of children, their communities, and our city. While I was executive director at The Door, I was a part of transforming and expanding our mental health services to include many educational, social, and cultural programming for youth, among which, was the only art therapy based GED program in NYC, which was a long overdue and necessary program.
As mayor, I would redirect $450 million, which is currently funding police presence in our schools, to services that will actually benefit our students and keep them safe and healthy, including mental health services and arts programs. I recognize how important the arts are for education and believe that we need to expand arts education moving forward. One way to do this is to bring artists from the community into public schools. Not only would this be a meaningful way for artists to connect with youth, it would show our students the variety of ways that art can be used and enjoyed throughout one’s life. I would also encourage schools to explore using creative arts as a tool to help support mental health for students. Arts are very important to our city’s culture, and our schools should be no different.