Studies over the last 10 years have shown that low-income students who are engaged in the arts are three times more likely to have high attendance records and four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. While researchers are still trying to pin down the reasoning behind these statistics, Kenneth Elpus (of the University of Maryland School of Music) believes that schools with arts education are more engaging places for students to be.
Unfortunately, 6 million children living in the U.S. have no access to arts education. Below are seven celebrities who believe in arts education and are working to lower and eliminate that number.
Did you know “The Office” star originally sought a career as an English teacher? Yep, that’s right. When he’s not acting, directing, and screenwriting, Krasinski supports creative writing and the literary arts through his work with 826 National and ScholarMatch. Through the latter, Krasinski sponsors Bianca – a college student serious about learning and has an interest in the arts.
The Grammy Award winner is quite the activist for a variety of causes – all backed by his Jason Mraz Foundation. In terms of arts education, Mraz actively supports MusiCares, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC). In 2012, Mraz (a SPARC alumnus) returned home to Virginia to perform in the LIVE ART concert event that benefited SPARC, a non-profit corporation the singer-songwriter credits with kick-starting his imagination.
Unlike her award-winning performances, much of Streep’s charitable work goes unnoticed as she and her husband silently and humbly pay it forward through their charity, the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts. Over the years, the couple has donated generous amounts to Vassar College, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (to name a few).
It’s no secret that Franco is a fan of education, and with a resume that reflects a love of the arts, it only seems fitting that the multi-talented actor also supports arts organizations in his spare time. Today, Franco volunteers with and contributes to both The Art of Elysium and 826 National. In 2011, he took part in “An Evening with James Franco,” a dinner to benefit 826DC in Washington, D.C.
In 2012, the country cutie showed her support for music education with a $4 million donation to the new education center being constructed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. That same year, Swift also partnered with Chegg to donate $60,000 to the music departments of six U.S. colleges.
Ben Affleck (and Jennifer Garner)
When the “Argo” star isn’t in Hollywood playing actor, director and producer, he’s home assuming the role of superhero father and husband or out advocating for numerous causes (including those backed by his Eastern Congo Initiative). On the arts side, Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner have shown support for The Art of Elysium, Music Rising and Milk + Bookies.
JT has a clear (or – shall we say – “20/20”) passion for arts education. With a firm belief that music is an essential part of a child’s development, Timberlake started The Justin Timberlake Foundation in 2001 to ensure that all American school children have access to quality music education. More recently, Timberlake has also sought to keep the musical legacy alive in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. In 2008, he donated $100,000 to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and another $100,000 to the Memphis Music Foundation.
Green your art room. GO
Sources: BBC, Americans for the Arts, Online Colleges, 826 National, Delta Sky, GAC, HuffPost Impact, SPARC, Jason Mraz Journal