The 9-11 Memorial Site

On September 13th I visited the 9-11 Memorial Site. It was truly an inspirational experience in so many ways. The solitude, solace, serenity and sheer beauty of being one with the elements was spiritually uplifting. I felt as if I became part of a canvas, similar to Seurat’s vision in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George: an aesthetic coalescence of art and reality. It truly was – IS – a testament to those lives lost on September 11, 2001.

Thank you to all those people whose efforts to make this hallowed ground a spiritual retreat for everyone to reflect, remember, and realize the sacrifices made by those we honor.

We will never forget.

How do the arts serve humanity as reminders of lessons lost and learned?

Testimonial #4: Justine Beirne, MA Philosophy Columbia University

A teacher that touched my life…..I have to say, that to choose one is an injustice as the English department of Vernon Township High School was really one of the best, in my opinion, in the entire world. However, if there is one person I remember it is James Walsh, my junior year high school English teacher who pushed me to explore the aesthetic theory used in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. He simply kept asking me to point to the place in the text that made me make the conclusions I was making about the literature. To this day, through two Master’s programs, an honor’s thesis, and more than 400 pages of academic writing I hear Mr. Walsh’s voice: “Go back to the text.” He made me feel like a proper academic. But he made me EARN it.

The arts are re-igniting my community by…. Looking at modernism and deconstruction is the only way to live in our new fast-paced global society peacefully. The avante garde, the new, the unusual, the Lady Gaga’s of the world who make us question the way we label an experience with a concept. The arts force us to question our human habit of labeling experiences as good or bad, and extends our empathy to those we otherwise would not understand. They are the only instrument for peace in a post-modern global culture.

Testimonial #3: Donald P. McGarry, Lead Software Systems Engineer for the MITRE Corporation

A teacher that touched my life…..
Arts education provides the opportunity for all walks of students to be able to explore their own strengths and weaknesses in an open and free environment. This type of open learning isn’t found in a traditional classroom setting, which allows students to take on greater challenges and responsibilities that they would be unable to explore in the traditional k-12 setting. These opportunities grow leadership, responsibility, and personal “ownership” organically and allow students of all levels to excel. These skills have aided me in my career as an engineer by giving me early exposure to task leadership, ownership, responsibility, group engagement, and has allowed me to incorporate an artistic component to my work.

The arts are re-igniting my community by….
Providing a needed cultural and social setting for students in the k-12 environment that is needed in education today. Each student in the education system needs to find their “niche” to grow into a responsible adult. Although not every student in a k-12 arts education program will go on to be a professional artist, many students from all walks find their “niche” in theater and arts education programs as an environment to engage with others, a common ground for learning and growing, as well as a social community to “fit in”. As programs such as arts education, music education, theater, and technology programs are cut, this eliminates this sense of community from these students and adds to the existing pool of students who “just don’t fit in”. This hampers their growth as young adults, and does the overall community a dis-service by not allowing them to grow and explore beyond the simple evaluation of “the three R’s”.

The First 100 Stories Campaign: National Arts in Education Week September 11-17

In July 2010, Congress designated the second week of September as National Arts In Education Week to promote and showcase the immense role arts education has in producing engaged, successful, and college and career-ready students to meet the challenges of the new CORE Standards. To that end, First Online with Fran is launching The First 100 Stories Campaign.

The Arts continue to be cut from school curriculums across the nation. Despite arts advocacy groups’ efforts to prevent the decline of arts inclusion, the budgetary solution remains to be that the arts are perceived as extra-curricular and disposable. In Chris Cleave’s novel Little Bee, the central character decided to right a wrong by collecting stories: “One story makes you weak. But as soon as we have one-hundred stories, you will be strong.” Similarly, we can do the same for the Arts. Here’s how:

Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists!

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

How are the arts re-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your local schools?
Click here.

Here are the first 2! Only 98 to go …

Testimonial #1. Edie Falco, Tony-Award winning Actor
“Fran McGarry and Eve Terry, perhaps unbeknownst to them, played a huge part in my path to my present career. Though I was just a school kid, they treated me like an artist; made me believe I had something unique to offer. They helped grow my confidence which I believe can take you anywhere you want to go. I am so grateful.”

Testimonial #2: Keith Johnston, co-founded the Creative Arts Team’s College/Adult Program
My Uncle Calvin from Jamaica taught me how to play guitar and draw. He admonished me for my fear of speaking. “Being shy is selfish. God gave you a gift. If you don’t use it you’ll become a cosmic clogger. If you hold it to yourself you’re not allowing to speak your artistic gifts. Your artistic gifts is the voice of God.”
That’s what Uncle Calvin said and I never forgot it. It has become my mantra.

The collection of testimonials will be forwarded to Arts Education Partnership who will serve as a national hub for information on how the arts are going strong in our nation’s communities and schools and strategies for getting involved in arts education and supporting the arts in your community.

The First 100 Stories Campaign: Testimonial #2

Testimonial #2: Keith Johnston, co-founded the Creative Arts Team’s College/Adult Program 

My Uncle Calvin from Jamaica taught me how to play guitar and draw. He admonished me for my fear of speaking. “Being shy is selfish. God gave you a gift. If you don’t use it you’ll become a cosmic clogger. If you hold it to yourself you’re not allowing to speak your artistic gifts. Your artistic gifts is the voice of God.”
That’s what Uncle Calvin said and I never forgot it. It has become my mantra.



Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists! 

Click here to submit your testimonial.