By Kristi Jones
The arts have always been in my life, and I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to say that. However, I didn’t have super artistic parents; in fact, art wasn’t really even a hobby for my parents. My dad is a pilot and was always more math and science-minded, and my mom had a varied career history, including accounting, marketing and flight attendant, but the arts were never involved in their professional lives, and besides my mom playing the piano now and then, not in their personal lives either. However, they always encouraged both my involvement in and appreciation of the arts. I started taking dance classes when I was three, and my parents started taking me to the theatre productions when I was around six years old. There were museums, piano lessons and choir concerts throughout my life. I also had the typical arts classes in school, stayed involved in choir, theatre and dance through my teenage years, went on to major in theatre in college and moved on to have a career in the non-profit arts world. Why? I was encouraged to participate in the arts, where I ended up finding my niche and passion, and I was given the support and tools I needed to do just that.
By Scott Romano
I have been involved in theatre and the arts so long that one of my oldest memories is losing my first tooth at a summer theatre camp, so let’s say four or five. Throughout my 18 years, I have seen how important the arts are, I have seen how they benefit me, my age group, and all students involved in these programs within public education. I have seen how paramount it is that we advocate for arts funding and fight to raise the priority level of arts in the mind of the public and our governments: from local school boards cutting arts programs, to the federal government nixing grant programs for arts endowment.
Individuals who lobby and support the arts, see that the fight for the arts is for the benefit of the public. We see arts education as a key element to being better, being more active members in our communities, and well-rounded people. We see the overwhelming benefits art programs bring to students and schools. We know individuals can work together to ensure policies and programs such as the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District are guaranteed to children and families.
Through my active 13 years in the arts community, I can speak to these values, these lessons that the arts share with students. I am the thriving person I am today because of the arts. The arts have taught me about myself. They gave me a platform to be myself. Being gay, I know the arts community as a home, a place where I know it is okay to be me. I have thrived because I know that my community of artists shares the belief of acceptance.