Testimonial #39: David McGinnis, Theatre Professor

I would never have finished high school without it. Period. I have no idea what I would be doing without theatre.”

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

To be blunt, I only finished high school because of arts, and I definitely only pursued postsecondary and further education because arts were an option. Focusing on high school, though, I was not what you might call the “well-behaved” student…or even the usually present one. I attended when I felt like it and did what work I felt like until I discovered the interconnectedness of the arts with other disciplines. I then studied physics in high school because I wanted to learn how to build better set pieces and operate/repair lighting equipment. I buckled down and focused on my writing and literary studies because I kept stumbling upon references in the theatre and I wanted to understand them more fully. I worked harder on math because of its usefulness in the shop. I even began to care more about PE because I needed to stay fit in order to keep performing some of the work that the theatre required. I found myself more interested in my economics and civics studies because of the prevalence of such thought in theatrical literature, and beginning my 11th grade year, I even began to opt into courses like psychology for no more reason than the curiosity that I developed because of arts, theatre in particular. I would never have finished high school without it. Period. I have no idea what I would be doing without theatre, but because of what I gained from it, I am now a theatre professor, and I find that what I received is not at all an uncommon gift. Education without arts quite literally is education without passion, and education without passion prepares the learned arm for bondage.

Can Children Deprived of Arts Education Still Grow Up to Be Innovators?

September 8, 2014, 9:00 AM

by Robert Montenegro

“Michigan State University observed a group of its honors college graduates from 1990 to 1995 who majored in the STEM fields. Their research uncovered that of those students, the ones who owned businesses or filed patents had eight times the exposure to the arts as children than the general public.”
To learn more about why the arts are essential to a robust core curriculum (as well as to read up on STEM’s younger sibling, STEAM), check out Brady’s article in The Washington Post by Robert Montenegro

The arts boost student learning,

The data is in: The arts boost student learning, particularly for English Language Learners

Posted by Marna Stalcup On September – 10 – 2014

 Arts instruction has long been used as a tool for reaching English Language Learners. In fact, the origins of the children’s theatre genre lie in the Settlement Houses of Chicago in the early Twentieth Century, where Jane Addams utilized theatre and poetry to help students learn English (this tradition can be seen today in the plethora of children’s books adapted for the stage.)

There is a wealth of information available today about the usefulness of the arts for reaching multiple learning styles but there are few studies that directly link arts integration with student test scores (particularly long-term, richly collaborative integration models). Read more…

Arts Integration Works: Right Brain Initiative

John M. Eger Headshot

Arts Integration Works Says Portland’s “Right Brain Initiative”

Posted: 09/07/2014 4:14 pm EDT Updated: 09/10/2014 6:59 am EDT

The Right Brain Initiative (RBI) serving the greater Portland region released a report that confirms “There is a meaningful and quantifiable link between integrated arts education and student learning,” specifically:

• Students’ reading and math scores increase at least 2.5 times
more than the average annual rate of increase.

• This growth is even greater for English Language Learners. Student’s scores
increased 10 times more after schools partnered with Right Brain.

• For all children, scores continued to rise as schools engaged more deeply
with the Initiative, with a particularly large rate of increase for English
Language Learners.


Josh Groban on Why Art Matters

Josh Groban.  Photo by Olaf Heine

Josh Groban.
Photo by Olaf Heine

“Art matters because it is the one true great connector in a world that seems to be very unconnected, and it’s important now more than ever to shine a huge light on that connectivity that we have, that we often forget.” -Josh Groban  Read more…

Josh Groban Sheds ‘Light’ On Arts Education

Posted by Tim Mikulski On July – 8 – 2011

Singer-songwriter Josh Groban was a strong supporter of the arts and arts education long before gaining the attention of the music industry in 1998. His initial foray into charitable causes has always included arts education, in addition to a number of other causes.


However, Groban also recognizes that access to quality arts education has been declining and he wants to do as much as he can to help students be exposed to, and trained in, music, theater, dance, and visual arts.

Yesterday he announced that he is refocusing his charitable efforts on arts education under a new name, the Find Your Light Foundation.

Seeking to make a difference in schools across America and around the world, the foundation will focus on providing instruments and funding for arts programs in schools.

Groban is also leveraging his new concert tour to bring attention to the foundation and the arts education cause.

In every city during the tour, Groban is inviting the head of an arts education nonprofit; the artists, students, and/or teachers who provide services for the nonprofit; and the children and young adults who receive services from the nonprofit to attend his concert and be recognized from the stage.

They will also have the opportunity to meet Groban prior to the performance. In addition, the Find Your Light Foundation will make a cash donation to the chosen nonprofit.

Taking things one step further, Americans for the Arts and the Find Your Light Foundation are launching a new text-to-give campaign throughout Groban’s Straight to You tour with proceeds going in support of both organizations. Ten dollar donations can be easily made by texting ART to 50555. The $10 will simply be added to your monthly phone bill.

A member of our Artists Committee and recent testifier on behalf of arts education before Congress, Josh Groban continues to be a tireless advocate, and together we will continue to pursue the mission of ensuring every child and young adult in America has access to quality arts education experiences.