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 Troy Stull! Troy is a Junior (11th grade) at Bard H.S. Early College. As a talented writer, Troy brings a well spoken voice to help spread the importance of arts education!
Message to the World:
What matters to me as an artist is equity. Having equitable access to an arts education.
I think it’s appalling that not every student has the same chance to express their creativity and individuality through the arts. We should all have whatever we need to express our creativity no matter where we live or go to school.
In my middle/elementary school, we had a very underfunded arts program and did not consistently have access to all of the disciplines. My experience with the arts as a Baltimore City student looked like this:
Visual art: We had few materials and they were mostly in bad condition. There were very few very frayed paint brushes, paint that was crappy, a couple of stray pencils, markers, yarn, and some fabric to sew. There wasn’t much teaching or skill learning, it was just free play, just…. “there are the materials, go and do whatever you want.” My teachers were nice enough but it wasn’t an actual education, it was just free time with art materials to work with.
Dance: We had access to dance for some years, but it just depended because we went through so many dance teachers. I never liked Dance class personally, and the class itself wasn’t structured very well because we had so many different teachers who all wanted to teach us different things at the different times they were employed and it became repetitive. We jumped a year or two here and there because they couldn’t find anyone to teach dance.
Music: For an odd couple of months throughout my entire elementary and middle school life, we had music. The teacher who lasted the longest was for about one school year, and he wasn’t the best teacher even then. We learned things so that was a step up from visual arts. We learned a few songs on the recorder, and we got some basic knowledge on music notes and reading sheet music. `
As members of the Bmore Youth Arts Advocacy Council (BYAAC), we learn that “people don’t know what they don’t know.” So, to help raise the awareness of our peers, parents, teachers, and principals we share important facts and information on why students all across the city need art classes.
We make sure that everyone knows and understands that taking art classes improves a student’s mental health. It improves their academics as well. Studies have shown that students who take classes in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college.
We let everyone know that the Arts are essential. And that no matter where a student lives or goes to school, they have the right to art classes in all five disciplines.
We ask our principals and other school decision-makers to set aside money for art programs, teacher’s classes, supplies, and spaces for Baltimore City students… and to create a budget for the arts for every school. Because the way we have it now is inequitable and falls short of what students are legally entitled to as part of an enriching education according to COMAR, our Maryland State Law.
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