As a complement to our Arts & Education page, Delaware Arts Alliance has a page within our website dedicated exclusively to March for the Arts. Our goal is to grow this section of our website into a statewide repository of arts-education STEAM examples in Delaware. Students, teachers, and parents may submit pictures, testimonials, blogs, or videos about arts education programs (or their impact) to be included on the DAA website. Send contributions to Jessica Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2003, Delaware Senator Dorinda A. Connor authored Senate Bill No. 116, designating the month of March as “March for Arts in Education Month”. Senator Conner envisioned a month devoted to celebrating arts education throughout the state–recognizing the critical role that the arts play in providing a well-rounded education for Delaware’s youth.
The month of March continues to recognize excellence in education in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Art.
Join DAA, the Delaware Division of the Arts, and the Delaware Department of Education in celebrating March for the Arts in 2017!
Historical Background on March for the Arts
The March for the Arts bill, passed in 2003, was a historic victory and testimonial to the importance of the arts in education in Delaware. DAA can provide you with some important historical background on the bill and the people who made it happen.
Senator Dorinda A. Connor
(Biography from ‘About Dori’ section of www.doriconnor.com)
Dori was first elected to the Delaware State Senate in April, 1997 when she won a special election. Born in Ancon Canal Zone, Panama to a military family, she earned a music degree from West Chester University. In addition to choral, instrumental and classroom instruction in the Colonial School District, she also provided private music lessons.
Dori’s service may have officially started when she was elected to the Senate, but as an educator and spouse of an elected official serving the residents of the 12th Senatorial District, her service was more of a life’s work and passion. The 12th District she served encompasses the City of New Castle, Delaware City, North Saint Georges and areas of Bear and Middletown. As Senator, she was active in community service and devoted to the people of the 12th Senatorial District. She worked diligently on issues concerning the Arts, among many others.
The Delaware Division of the Arts’ March for the Arts in Education Stories
The transformative power of the arts in education is apparent in these wonderful stories and quotations compiled by the Delaware Division of the Arts in celebration of March for the Arts in Education 2065.
- “Arts teach valuable life skills essential to success in every field of human endeavor—confidence, discipline, concentration, problem solving, creativity and a commitment to excel.” Robert Grenfell, First State Ballet Theatre
- Visual expression exercises a child’s brain. Students learn detail and confidence when they are free to explore. Angela, Visual Artist
- Some students naturally lean toward science and math, some toward English and literature, others toward the arts. Recently the arts have been in danger of being cut from curriculums, with the focus being on STEM instead of STEAM. Where do the children whose love is the arts go? Kim Klabe, Education Director, Rehoboth Art League
- As an Elementary Instrumental Music Teacher, I teach and reinforce focus, concentration, application, patience, persistence to achieve, efficient time organization and management, and an ethic of hard work that leads to success. Ken Schleifer, Elementary Instrumental Music Teacher, Cape Henlopen School District
- The sparkle in the children’s eye, the light bulb that clicked on, and the look of amazement on a preschooler’s face is indescribable when the children are given the gift to imagine and explore. For “at risk” children, that gift is priceless! Melissa Earl, Newark Head Start, participant in DIAE’s Wolf Trap Arts in Education program
- I will remember being pushed out of my comfort zone, and by doing that I discovered new things about the French culture, as well as other parts of the world, like Brazil. William Penn High School student, after participating in a DIAE music residency
- I can say that this will be one of those things that I will treasure forever. I feel more connected to my roots more than I ever knew. William Penn High School student, after participating in a DIAE music residency
- I have Crohn’s Disease. Music has helped me through hard times and when we played the drums I felt like I had finally, completely released all the pain. I thank you so much, Alex. William Penn High School student, after participating in a DIAE music residency
- Giving children confidence, poise, and a voice through theatre arts education provides skills for a lifetime. Sharon Crossen, NBCT, President, The Children’s Theatre, Inc.
- As an artist, I want to see all our children given access to art- not because I want them to all become working artists – but because their lives and varied careers will be greatly enriched by the creative thinking, methods of expression, and skills of observation that art fosters. Our kids deserve a wide base of education, and art is a crucial part of that foundation. Kelly Sverduk, Mispillion Art League
- “One of my students was undergoing assessments to find out if he had some form of autism. I was not reaching this student… During Ms. Dee’s first lesson she read and brought to life the story, “Jeffrey the Giraffe.” At first my student just watched and listened. He pretended not to want to participate and would sit away from the group, peeking around corners to see the pictures and hear the songs. During the second “Jeffrey” lesson, when he heard Ms. Dee take out the “sekere” and the drums, my little fellow ran to her asked to play the drums, and he participated throughout the remaining activity. He danced, and laughed, and sang real loud, now that was a Wolf Trap miracle.”
Head Start teacher participating in DIAE’s Wolf Trap program, quote provided by Danny Peak, Executive Director DIAE
- “The population at William Penn High School is not only diverse; it is also a population that has limited access to the arts. My students are from relatively low socio-economic levels, and most of them have never been to a live music performance (other than one in school), a dance performance, or an art museum. This residency has touched the students in very personal ways. I was astounded at the music they were able to produce as a team in a mere 90 minutes. I was thrilled to see them laughing, and having fun. The level of respect I felt from the students after this residency has increased tenfold. They are begging me to have Alex return. Many of them have expressed interest in exploring music and capoeira further or in seeing another performance.” Andea LaCombe, William Penn High School, after participating in a DIAE residency with musician Alex Shaw
Areas of DAA’s focus in Education: