When I was a kid I went to 6 different elementary schools. Three of those schools were title one. Just to be clear what that is, a title one school means at least 40% of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch, and guess what…I was one of the 40+ percent. The students enrolled in those schools have economic hardships that most of us don’t. Anyway, for a time, I was one of those kids. I always dreamed of being a dancer when I was a little girl. The thought of dancing on a stage was magical to me, but paying for dance lessons becomes problematic when you can’t even get a proper dinner on the table. Moving around a lot doesn’t help either.
I was able to get my bearings eventually. After the age of 10, I never lived in that kind of poverty again. But poverty is lonely and debilitating for sure. I am so very lucky the opportunities life has afforded me. In ways, my life has been very privileged. I was surrounded by a talented and loving extended family. I went to a good public high school. I went on and finished college. I had life changing educational experiences. I had teachers and professors that I will never forget, but a dance career was lost. I’m not saying it was ever in the stars for me, but I still sometimes think it would have been nice to at least have had a chance. A chance to try things out as a kid. To explore passions that form when life hasn’t turned us into cynical and practical adults. When we still dare to dream about the things we love.
If you know me, then you know I’m still a dreamer. I still look at life as a hopeful and wonderful place. As an adult, I was lucky enough to find tango. It has made dance a part of my life in ways that I had always longed for. It’s a good thing when you can find that childhood love and reimagine it as an adult.
So, where am I going with all this? It’s my belief that ALL children have dreams and untapped potential. When kids get art, music, dance, and theatre in their school…it just might be the only arts education they get. Mom might be working strange hours and unable to get them hither and yon for various extra curricular activities. Or, she might just barely be getting food on the table. My point is, that we need to support the arts in our public schools. Here is the fundraiser for my public school now…Wasatch. It’s not a title one school, but the kids are a diverse and excited bunch. There is an energy in this school that will tap potential, if they are able. So here I am…remembering when times were hard, and asking others to think about where they were as kids. Were times hard? Were you lucky? Did you love art? Do you have kids now? Do they love art? Do you want that for all kids? Read about the program. For some of the kids, this is it. That’s all they get, and it would be nice to give them the best we can so they will dare to continue dreaming.
Whether it’s Wasatch or your local public school…they all need art.