Why the Arts Matter


by Nebraska Loves Public Schools (funded by the Sherwood Foundation)


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When school budgets are tight, art programs often find themselves on the chopping block. Today’s definition of arts education has evolved considerably from what it once was. Today’s art programs encompass a wide array of disciplines — from fine arts to digital media, from music to landscape architecture — and are encouraging creative thinking, problem solving, and healthy emotional development, among other things. In fact, studies show that students who have strong exposure to the arts do better academically and are more satisfied in school, making art education a vital component in any well-rounded curriculum.

This Nebraska Loves Public Schools video looks at various art programs across the state and the positive impact they have on thousands of public school students each year. From elementary-age kids learning to ballroom dance to slam poetry competitions and creative music education, see how children benefit when schools make the arts matter.

“Arts education is important for every student in this state. If we are truly to get everything from every human being in this state, we have to provide them with a background in math, science, history, reading, writing – and the arts has to be the doorway to that, to help students who might not ordinarily see their gift see it.”
          — Patsy Koch Johns, Teacher/Director and VP of Arts Education,
              Nebraskans for the Arts


Watch this preview!



Ainsworth Students are Thinking Out of
(and Sometimes On) the Box

See how Ainsworth Community Schools encourage students to think on their feet!

Bouncing to the Beat

Adams Central teacher Kristin Lukow is determined to get all of her students involved, whether singing, dancing, or bouncing basketballs to learn about music.

All The World's A Stage

While arts budgets are being slashed at schools around the country, Lincoln High School’s theatre program uses the dramatic arts to teach collaboration, a global world view, and responsibility that comes from the heart.




Patricia Koch Johns
Theater Director; 2006 Teacher of the Year
Marian Fey
Nebraskans For The Arts Director
Bob Reeker
Eastridge Elementary School Visual Art & Integrated Technology Specialist
Kristin Lukow 
Adams Central Public Schools Music Teacher
Stacey Waite
UNL Assistant Professor of English; Lincoln North Star High School Louder Than A Bomb Coach
Matt Mason
Nebraska Writers Collective Executive Director
Chris Maly
Playwright; Lincoln High School IB English Teacher
Mike Wortman
Lincoln High School Principal
Doug Wignall 
HDR Architecture, Inc. President




NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Center for Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Community Learning Center Network
Nebraska Trucking Association

Project Liftoff
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors and Mentors


© 2013

American Graduate is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.