Senator Jay Costa: Mr. President, I rise today to offer the resolution, which was pronounced that recognizes September 27th through October 3rd as Arts & Education Week here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Arts and education, Mr. President, is important. And the statistics and the studies prove that. And here are just a few. Mr. President, students who study, study the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. And those same students are also three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance. And finally, Mr. President, students with four years of art and music average 40 points higher on the written portion of the SAT’s than students who have less than that amount of time.
And Mr. President, I can go on and on. The studies reflect and the statistics reflect that arts and education is a valuable investment.
On this chamber floor, Mr. President, we’ve recognized many, many budding artists for their work and for their achievements. And virtually everywhere we go you’ll see evidence of the arts and art communities. And here in our own commonwealth and our own senate chamber, Senator Dinniman referenced earlier today we see the great work of Violet Oakley, a woman was the very first contract, the state public contract to produce the beautiful murals that we see not only in this chamber but across this, this General Assembly and this capitol building. Those are the type of things that we want to replicate throughout our communities.
And more than that likely, more than likely the spark of the love, the spark for the love of the arts that she exhibited and many folks since that time have exhibited was really born out of elementary school where the child had the first opportunity to express themselves either through the arts in the form of pictures, drawing, painting, through music or the theater. And sadly, Mr. President, arts and music programs across our Commonwealth continue to suffer, particularly after the four, four years of deep cuts in education funding.
This is a challenge that means that we must work and we must be resourceful in seeking funds and opportunities to make sure that the arts, that arts and education programs are sufficiently funded.
Finally, Mr. President, we cannot forget a key point in the importance of arts and education. And that is education is not the only benefit of the arts when we make those investments. The arts are a proven contributor to a job creation and economic growth and activity. Something that we’re always working on here in Pennsylvania and to restore to our communities.
We’re, recently a study by the Americans For the Arts drew a direct correlation between investments in the arts and job growth and economic development and activity. And that investment begins in our schools. According to this study the arts generated $2.55 billion in total economic activity and $1.8 billion in household income to local residents and support more than 18,000 full-time jobs here in Pennsylvania. That’s why we need to continue to make investments in the arts and the arts and education particularly.
And that arts deliver $360 million in local and state government revenue. That’s what the arts mean to our local communities aside from the benefit that it provides to the individuals who are participating.
Mr. President, my good friend and colleague, the Appropriations Chair from the other side of the aisle, Senator Pat Browne and I co-chair, along with Representative Briggs and Representative Saylor, we co-chair what’s called the Arts and Cultural, Arts and Cultural Caucus, which is a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers, together with advocates for the arts, who are dedicated in helping to grow the arts, provide intelligent information about the activities of the arts, and to help the arts and the cultural community flourish here in Pennsylvania.
And we had a meeting earlier today here in the capitol and heard about two wonderful organizations who are dedicated to ensuring, to ensuring that our youngest children are given the opportunity to explore the arts in their community. And if you didn’t have an opportunity to join us, I suggest and encourage that you come to one of our next meetings, but specifically go to our website, Arts and—paartsculturalcaucaus.com and you will find the two PowerPoint presentations that were made today along those lines. They were presentations from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the work that they do working with after-school programs in our libraries, as well as the presentations from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the, in Western Pennsylvania.
It’s truly a way to see evidence and to hear stories about how our investments are making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
So Mr. President, I know and I believe in arts and education. And I believe in the value for Pennsylvania, for our families and our kids. And I’d like to believe that all my colleagues do the same. So to that end, Mr. President, I ask that my colleagues join me in recognizing September 27th through October 3rd, 2015 as Arts & Education Week here in Pennsylvania.[End of Audio]