On May 17, 2017, Arkansans for the Arts hosted the first Arkansas Arts Roundtable; Why the Arts are Essential to Southeast Arkansas. The day was a convening of education, commerce, and cultural leaders throughout the region to discuss the importance of art education in efforts to develop students who are career, college, and citizenship ready as well as how the Arts can be a catalyst for economic and cultural development.

The morning session was focused on education issues and A+ was part of the conversation. Michelle Burrows, Director of A+ Schools of North Carolina, was a featured panelist to discuss the power of Art as a universal and inclusive practice.

Johnny Key, Arkansas commissioner of education

Johnny Key, Arkansas commissioner of education

The state Commissioner of Education Johnny Key was also a panelist who spoke about the opportunities for Arts and art education in the proposed AR ESSA draft, now open for public comment.

“A+ Schools organization reinforces why arts in the classroom is so effective with younger kids, and that we can’t just drop it in middle school and high school. … A+ teachers understand that connection, understand how integration of the arts into the delivery of education is so critical to student success.”

— Johnny Key, commissioner of education

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If you are interested in becoming involved with arts and arts education advocacy efforts, contact Arkansans for the Arts.