Come On, Everyone. Can’t We Agree That #ArtsMatter?

In a city where arts education is rapidly declining, famed artists help kids ‘learn to dream.’
Successful artists reassure kids in Los Angeles that they should dare to dream big. (Artwork by John Baldessari, Photo c/o Arts Matter)
Jan 8, 2013
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

In Los Angeles, arts education funding has dropped by 76 percent in the last five years.

During the 2007-2008 school year, $78.6 million was alloted for arts education. This school year, that number has dropped to $18.6 million.

In a city with art at its core, this, according to The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, is simply unacceptable.

While we know that art sparks creativity, it's also proven that the arts help students excel in other subjects. This makes these budget cuts even more detrimental.

Founding CEO Megan Chernin recently explained on TakePart the effects of these cuts. She wrote, "In a district where 80 percent of students live in poverty, the consequences are profound, leaving those with the greatest need even further behind."

More: Arts Education: The Key To Making Students Better at School and at Life?

Chernin wrote that it's time for the people of Los Angeles to reach out to these kids and "do our part to fuel creativity."

To kick off this idea, her organization launched the widest-reaching public art project in L.A. history. Called Arts Matter, the initiative features original art by the city’s most renowned artists on buses and outdoor advertising space. Contemporary artist Barbara Kruger had her images strewn across Los Angeles in October, and starting this week, Los Angelenos will get to see the work of popular conceptual artist John Baldessari.

Baldessari chose to turn the city's metro buses into 'school buses' with a yellow and black design. The inspiring text on the buses reads, 'Learn to Dream.'

The hope for his artwork, according to the LA Fund, "is to provokes contemplation about what is and is not working in education today and challenges us to plan for a better future."

The LA Fund wants to not only raise awareness but to also integrate music, visual arts, dance and theater with traditional core subjects such as math, English, and science. Through the Arts Matter campaign, they are making this happen.

Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee |

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