By Jay Seller, PhD
Thomas Hardy stated, “Time changes everything, except something within us that is always surprised by change.” With the passing of another year at Think 360 Arts, change has certainly been in the air. We have effectively increased programming to reach 9,000 more students than last year, and we continue to impact thousands of teachers and teaching artists through guided professional development. Our focus is on our mission to lead Colorado in cultivating and sustaining the arts as essential to all learning through creative experiences for students and teachers, while striving towards our vision of a community that embraces the arts as a fundamental tool to enhance learning and upholding our values of collaboration, equity and access, diversity, creativity, quality and fun in all we do.
Our numbers demonstrate the daily impact of engagement and change in the arts education landscape of Colorado. One of the many advantages of continued arts learning over time is reflected in the fact that “Low income students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely as their peers with low arts involvement to earn a Bachelor’s degree” (Americans for the Arts, 2015). We know and must share that arts engagement and instruction has the ability to increase tests scores, life satisfaction, academic buoyancy and adaptive motivation and can have a significant impact of lowering drop-out rates (Martin, Mansour, Anderson, Gibson, 2013).
From classrooms to after school programs to our community outreach programs, such as the Denver Attorney’s Acquiring Restitution Through Talent, Think 360 Arts receives a flood of positive comments: “The most successful part of the residency was the excitement with which the students came running to the Art Club after school, so that they could get started on our sculpture. Several students would stay late to continue to work on the sculpture on a Friday! This really was a massively successful residency. My only regret is that it wasn’t longer.” – Eric Dallimore, Think 360 Arts Teaching Artist
Our desire is that the arts are an influential part of every child’s education, however, we need your help to continue to make these experiences possible for children across Colorado. A majority of the schools we serve would have limited arts education without the work of Think 360 Arts.
Here is how you can get involved: Tuesday, December 8 is Colorado Gives Day, and Community First Foundation and 1stBank have again pledged one million dollars for an incentive fund. When you donate to Think 360 Arts via think360arts.org on Colorado Gives Day or by scheduling your donation in advance, your gift will have an even greater impact. Please visit our web site and give generously on December 8 and help us continue the work of making the arts a part of every child’s complete education.
Jay Seller, PhD is the Executive Director of Think 360 Arts for Learning. Dr. Seller comes to Think 360 Arts after a 32-year career as a high school theatre teacher and fine arts coordinator for Adams Twelve school district. Dr. Seller completed his undergraduate work in Business Administration, Master’s in Education, and his doctorate in Organizational Leadership, with a special emphasis in at-risk youth.