Penn Live Arts Blog

#BecauseOfArtsEd amidst a pandemic

Posted October 15, 2020

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While we greatly miss seeing all of you in our theatres this fall, we particularly feel the absence of our youth audiences at our weekday Student Discovery matinees. We continually witness the impact of arts education, and while access to these wonderful programs already had barriers, the pandemic has doubled down on those challenges. Class trips are cancelled, teaching artists and programs are reduced or nonexistent and theatre doors are indefinitely closed.

Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFTA) said during National Arts in Education Week this September, “2020 is unlike any other year. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has threatened the traditional delivery of education and, with it, arts education. With 63 percent of community arts organizations having severe financial loss and 90 percent have cancelled events, and most schools currently pursuing a virtual learning environment, there is an immediate challenge to ensuring that the arts can maintain their valued place in the school day and after school as well.”

As we await a time when we can hear the cheers and laughter of young audiences in our theatre again, we seek communal inspiration in the digital realm. We have loved seeing families and artists alike advocate for arts and culture in the #ArtsAreMySuperpower campaign or share their personal #BecauseOfArtsEd stories of impact across social media. We were inspired by AFTA’s #BecauseOfArtsEd Chat featuring Annette Bening, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Denyce Graves-Montgomery, Josh Groban and Dr. James Haywood Rolling, Jr. And now it’s your turn – take a moment, right now, to reflect on your own childhood experience with the performing arts. How has it shaped who you are today? Remember and savor that uplifting feeling until we can be together in our theatres again soon.