#ArtsMatter: Arts Education Fuels Creative Thinking
Arts Matter is an unprecedented campaign to revitalize arts education in the nation’s second largest school district. The campaign has been developed to drive public awareness for the critical role of arts education in public schools. By bringing together leading contemporary artists, including Barbara Kruger and John Baldessari, as well as Los Angeles entertainment, civic, and education leaders, Arts Matter is focused on rebuilding arts education in the creative capital of the world.
The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education was inspired to spearhead this initiative to address the creativity crisis existing in Los Angeles public schools. Today, only 2% of all instructional time is devoted to the arts in L.A. elementary schools. The purpose of Arts Matter is to develop a system that integrates arts instruction with traditional core subjects to dramatically increase creative thinking and learning for all students.
All proceeds raised throughout Arts Matter will directly support an innovative R&D fund to support arts integration in L.A. public schools. The objective of this fund is to provide at least $750,000 in seed funding for multi-year arts integration professional development programs in K-12 public schools across the city.
About The Issue
Over the last three years, a statewide funding crisis has forced LAUSD to cut nearly $1.5 billion from its annual operating budget resulting in ongoing cuts to the elementary arts program. At its peak in 2009, 335 elementary arts teachers were employed to ensure that every elementary school received instruction in at least two art forms each year. In four years, the District has gone from running a nationally recognized arts education program, to today struggling to piece together a drastically reduced and inequitable program. In a school district with nearly 80% of its student population living in poverty, in the world’s arts and entertainment capital, the children with the greatest need are being left further behind.
The need for robust arts education, however, has never been clearer. In its landmark 2006 study, the Conference Board surveyed business leaders who overwhelming identified critical thinking and problem solving as the most critical competencies needed in the workforce. In addition to critical thinking, employers further identify creativity as an essential skill for success in today’s workforce. Just as there is unanimity on the need for the education system to produce more creative and adept problem solvers, there is consensus that a robust arts education is the most effective way to do so.
In addition, a robust arts education has proven a critical factor in improving, not only student academic performance, but also student attitudes, behavior and social awareness. In his 2009 study, researcher James Catterall found significant empirical evidence that the arts rich schools can dramatically improve outcomes for inner-city students and those classified as English language learners. For the nation’s second largest school district, one that serves approximately 179,343 English language learners and 524,744 students living in poverty, the need for high-quality arts education has never been clearer.
About the Public Art Exhibition
Project: John Baldessari, Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar (For the LA Fund), 2012
On behalf of the LA Fund, ForYourArt is producing original works of art by world-renowned artists for Arts Matter. The program kicked-off by Barbara Kruger in October, continues with the work of artist John Baldessari. His project titled, Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar, will appear on buses, billboards, bus shelters, and other types of outdoor media throughout Los Angeles starting January 7, 2013, and running for four weeks.
Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar is the second flight of original works for Arts Matter, a first of its kind, citywide public art exhibition and fundraising campaign to support arts and creativity in the nation’s second largest public school system.
Baldessari’s bus artwork, with its yellow and black design, turns LA Metro buses into ‘school buses’, a reminder that every moment is an opportunity for learning and reflecting. Like the best teachers, Baldessari‘s work provokes contemplation about what is and is not working in education today and challenges us to plan for a better future. His bilingual text, rendered in the artist’s hand, inspires thinking and dialogue among and about Los Angeles’ diverse audiences.
The phase, Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar, is repeated on various sized billboards, bus shelters, and other outdoor media against a black chalkboard background. Recalling Baldessari’s well-known work, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971), which came from an idea of atonement, Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar is a mantra for the 21st century. Like his bus, the billboards and outdoor media call upon the power of individual and collective dreaming.
Twelve city buses and 48 artwork billboards, bus shelters, wallpostings, mall media, and bulletins will provide the Arts Matter public art exhibition a high-visibility profile. This initiative also marks the widest reaching public art project in Los Angeles’ history.
Part of #ArtsMatter Presented by The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education and LAUSD
Public Art Exhibition Produced by ForYourArt
Creative Producer: Bettina Korek
Producer: Karen Constine
Graphic Design: Julia Luke
Thanks: Brienne Arrington, Claire de Dobay Rifelj, Virginia Gatelein, Rashell George, Stacy Bach, Alex Israel, Patricia Kennedy, Karen Marta, Alex Miller, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Sarah Williams. CBS Outdoor, METRO and Zenithmedia.
John Baldessari, Learn To Dream, Aprende A Soñar (Bus, billboard, and outdoor media
for the LA Fund), 2012. © John Baldessari
Featured Artist John Baldessari
John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California. He received a BA and MA from San Diego State University and completed postgraduate work at both Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute.
For more than five decades, Baldessari has created thousands of works that demonstrate—and, in many cases, combine—the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the boundaries of the work of art. He has continually explored these themes in painting, photography, film, video, site-specific installations, artist’s books, sculpture, drawings, prints, and multiples.
Since 1957, Baldessari’s work has been featured in more than 950 solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, including those organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, in 1981; the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain, in 1989; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 1990; Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK, in 1995; the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, and Kunsthaus Graz, in 2005; and Tate Modern and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 2009.
As a teacher from 1970 to 1988 at the California Institute of the Arts, and from 1996 to 2007 at the University of California, Los Angeles, Baldessari instructed and influenced generations of artists. He lives and works in Southern California.
Featured Artist Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger is an artist based in Los Angeles and New York and is one of the most renowned contemporary artists working today. For over three decades her work has encompassed a broad spectrum of contexts and scales, ranging from publication inserts to immersive installations that involve text, images, and video.
Kruger’s work has appeared in museums and galleries worldwide and is featured this fall at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In Los Angeles, her prominent installation Untitled (Shafted), 2008, can be seen in the three-story elevator shaft at BCAM at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Kruger has also received numerous public art commissions that have brought her work to diverse audiences on billboards, bus cards, posters, and video displays, such as those on view in Los Angeles in 2008 as part of Women in the City, a public outdoor exhibition organized by West of Rome.
Kruger has taught at California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Currently, Kruger is a professor in the Department of Art at UCLA.