Welcome back to our B’more Youth Arts Advocacy Council P.S.A.As! Today we will be introducing you another one of our talented youth behind the advocacy work BYAAC will work on & participate in throughout the year. With each chance to meet our council comes a chance to read some of their work on art advocacy. Below each intro is some of the council member’s words & potential art speaking on arts advocacy & we invite you to take a read!

Today’s council member we would like you to meet is Kourtney McCleary! Kourtney, like the last member you met, is a Junior (11th grade) at Bard H.S. Early College. Kourtney is a strong proponent of the importance of art and learning it hands-on, making her voice heard through this council!

The Right to Learn and Practice Art

“I have the right to learn and practice the arts in a positive environment where everyone understands and acts on the knowledge that I am engaging in valuable and important work”. 

When I was in elementary/middle school I didn’t have many art supplies. We were only allowed to use watercolor paints. I felt like my art work was horrible and trashy because no one taught me how to actually paint with watercolor. It also felt like I was being treated as a toddler because it was simple, easy, and not so fun for my age using it all the time. 

One way for school decision-makers, legislators, parents and community members to show their support and commitment to the arts and my peers would be to make sure that every school had funding for more than just watercolor paints. Art supplies should be expansive, not just the basics like color pencils and markers. 

Students also need to have more hands-on opportunities to work(create), some of us just want to learn basic art skills, and others want to improve our skills beyond the fundamentals to be ready for college and careers in the arts. So we are taking risks and opportunities to help those who don’t know how to help themselves to achieve those things. 

Many people think having art in schools provides a well-rounded education. I do too.  There are many benefits that students gain from the arts. Art education can have a positive effect on students’ attendance, developing creativity, self expression and risk taking.  But it is also the law.  

Everyone deserves to know that their art matters and that it is important and valuable work. My fellow council members and I are hoping to achieve movement in people;  parents, teachers and decision-makers, like an eye opener to make them ask why it is that so many students don’t have access to art materials, classes or art clubs. 

 We are asking you to join us in doing something about it. 


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