Jessica Wilkinson

endorsed 2016-03-23 16:52:42 -0400

Arts For All Letter of Support

GOAL: 200

Support one year of high school arts education as an admission requirement to the Massachusetts state university system

Dear Carlos Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education and Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education,

Due to education reform efforts of the past 20 years, Massachusetts public schools have been required to shift focus to the “tested” subjects of reading, math, and science. This emphasis often pushes arts education to a secondary status in our students’ schooling.

Arts education — dance, media arts, music, theatre/drama, visual arts — is a necessary component for the development of the “whole child,” enabling each individual to become a productive, creative, and innovative member of society. Access and engagement in high quality, sequential arts education is essential to developing important 21st-century skills and will allow our Commonwealth to regain and maintain a competitive economic edge globally by exporting creative ideas and products.

While some districts have rich, sequential, and regular arts learning in every grade, others have limited or no arts learning. This is the case despite the designation of the arts as a core academic subject in the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act’s “Common Core of Learning”. Additionally, one year of arts education is the only designation in the “Common Core of Learning” not required for admission into the state university system.

The ARTS For All Initiative would establish one year of arts education in high school as an admission requirement to the Massachusetts state university system, including UMASS. Inclusion of the arts in the criteria will encourage more students to take arts education and help make certain all students in the Commonwealth have access to the arts regardless of geographic location, ethnicity, economic level, or any other demographic status or condition.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education should follow the lead of ten other states and require incoming university students to take at least one year of visual or performing arts, music, or dance.

Thank you for your consideration. 


endorsed 2015-12-21 15:50:05 -0500

Add your voice: MBTA and public art

Dear General Manager DePaola and Secretary Pollack,

We are writing to thank you for reinstating funding to the Integral Art projects on the Green Line Extension. We applaud this development, and encourage you to also reinstate funding for the entire Integral Art Program, including the Chelsea Silver Line, Blue Hill Avenue, and Wollaston Stations.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has a rich 48-year history of public art, and a legacy as the nation's first public art program of its kind. Public transportation is one of the great equalizers here in the Commonwealth, and the artwork created for our MBTA stations not only beautifies the stations, but also creates a sense of place and community ownership for people in every walk of life, no matter their neighborhood or income.

We understand the fiscal challenges the MBTA currently faces, yet we encourage you to acknowledge the extraordinary value that this small portion of the overall budget can put towards genuinely vibrant T Stations through the MBTA’s Integral Art Program. 


Jessica Wilkinson

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