On a cold, rainy morning in January, the U.S. Department of Education auditorium fill with excited chatter while PTA members, arts education professionals and families from across the nation took their seats for the National PTA Reflections® program’s Art Exhibit Opening and Ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring the 2012-2013 theme: The Magic of a Moment.
The ceremony recognized over 200 student artists from across the country with special guest appearances by national award recipients, Bailey Callahan and Jessica Clay. U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Executive Director Rachel Goslins, National PTA President Otha Thornton and National PTA Reflections Committee Chair Dawn Small discussed the significance of the arts, the benefits of arts education and the importance of integrating the arts into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).
Read more about STEAM (STEM + ARTS) in Our Children Magazine Dec/Jan edition.
Student artist Joshua Williams “Notes”
After the ceremony, the visiting families mingled with a whole class of local students from Amidon-Bowen Elementary School who graciously attended. The young arts-enthusiasts took time out of their day to celebrate the arts and the humanities with the PTA. This was truly a magical moment.
We soon learned that this was just one of many arts-based field trips Washington, DC students experienced due to their school’s partnership with the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative (DCAEHC). This collaborative partnership provides students with access to over 70 artists and arts organizations to “bring standards and curriculum to life.”
DCAEHC Program Director, Tracey Alperstein, explains that through school-community partnerships, students attend field trips and receive in-class arts learning. In addition, teachers also receive training in arts integration as well as conflict resolution.
National PTA President Otha Thornton with local students at the 2014 Reflections Art Exhibit
The DCAEHC supports many DC area schools like Amidon-Bowen, with ninety-two percent minority students. Their experiences in the arts and at the PTA Reflections exhibit will be remembered for years to come, fostering a life-long appreciation for the arts. Hopefully, this gleeful class will be inspired by this year’s Reflections participants to explore their own creativity.
Learn more about Reflections at PTA.org/Reflections.