Celebs get a bad rap when it comes to contributing to the community, often facing charges that their wealth makes them self-centered and overly concerned with luxury, but for many stars, this judgment is unfair. No, many celebrities actually go above and beyond in their commitment to charitable acts by volunteering, sharing their skills with people in need. Musicians, actors, and others in the arts are especially enthusiastic about promoting the arts in our schools.
At a time when many schools are facing dramatic funding cuts to their arts programs, the support of celebrities can be the difference between a successful program and one that’s shut down. What’s more, visits from stars like the celebs featured here can inspire young people to commit their best selves to their work, sparking the next generation of artists.
P.S. Arts is a fantastic non-profit that supports music, dance, and theatre programs in California public schools, but they couldn’t do their work without the assistance of many committed celebrities. That’s why it’s unsurprising that their 2015 Express Yourself fundraiser, P.S. Arts’ most important annual gathering, featured guests like Lisa Kudrow, Joel McHale, and Rosa Blasi. Past events have also found Alyson Hannigan, Jack Black, and Hilary Swank working on projects alongside hundreds of children.
Reversing The Trend
With the goal of returning the arts to underserved schools, Turnaround Arts, an arm of the President’s Commission on the Arts and the Humanities. As a public-private hybrid organization, it’s supported by Park West Gallery and Americans for the Arts and puts working artists in the classroom in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
For students with limited access to supplies and instruction, Turnaround Arts has been groundbreaking. Some classrooms have had visits from singer and reality show judge Paula Abdul, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and even famed ballet dancer Misty Copeland. Talk about turning around a culture that devalues the arts!
In Perfect Harmony
P.S. 22 in the Graniteville neighborhood of Staten Island is a mid-performing school with a large minority student population and subject to many of the extreme arts cuts that the rest of the NYC public school system has seen, but unlike most NYC schools, P.S. 22 is also home to a nationally recognized chorus. Made up of fifth graders from the school, the students have performed at the Oscars, have sung on an album for the band Passion Pit, and at the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
With all this press, it’s no surprise that musicians are eager to come work with the chorus. In 2014, guests included Fifth Harmony and A Great Big World, and more recently JoJo showed up to sing with the elementary school students. You can see in their videos how excited these young singers are whenever famous performers come to work with them.
Without the support of celebrities, our public schools would be struggling even more greatly to keep their arts programs alive, a devastating blow that could hurt already lackluster test scores. The arts are an integral part of education, and these stars are committed to making sure it stays that way.