Throughout the nation today, Links chapters partner with museums, symphonies, arts councils, educational institutes and corporations in order to support art programs, especially where there is a focus on artists of color. Links are creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by youth and accomplished professional artists in a diversity of disciplines.
The goal of The Arts Facet is to produce and support programs to enrich the quality of life of our youth and communities through educational and engaging art experiences while Transforming Communities, Fulfilling Our Purpose. Our programming includes arts integration within our chapters and partnerships with like-minded organizations, sowing the seed of creativity deeper in our community.
The value and benefits of the Arts is growing in the United States, particularly within K-12 education. In 2015, the Obama Administration reauthorized the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act with passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires states to provide students with a “well-rounded education” as part of their accountability review systems. This has led to many schools and enrichment programs expanding STEM initiatives to include the Arts (STEAM).
Recent data, including a 2014 study by the National Endowment for the Arts (Arts Education As A Pathway to College) reveals that STEAM education not only leads to an increased understanding and appreciation for the arts, it also provides a route to higher learning. The NEA study tracked participants from their sophomore year of high school to their mid-20s and found:
21% were more likely to attend a postsecondary institution than non-arts students;
“Arts” students were just as likely to pursue STEM majors as non-arts students; and
“Arts” students were just as likely to receive scholarships as their non-arts peers.
The Hoffman Estates (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is committed to closing the academic achievement gap for African American youth in its service area. We recognizes that STEAM initiatives offer one path toward that goal. The Chapter seeks to use the Arts to work with community partners who serve youth and connect with/mentor youth in a fun way.