50 STORIES 50 YEARS: THE EDMOND FINE ARTS INSTITUTE
The Fine Arts Institute offers educational enrichment in visual and performing arts to Edmond’s children and adults, believing that art is a necessary part of a well-rounded education.
In 1999, a National Endowment for the Arts-funded community needs assessments identified a gap in arts education in Edmond. The Fine Arts Institute stepped up to fill the gap.
In 2002, the Institute began a partnership with Edmond Public Schools to provide weekly arts education to students in Pre-K – 4th grade. The institute works with students before school programming picks up art education in 5th grade.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Art in Schools Program is going strong in eight elementary schools, including several Title I schools.
Since the inclusion of the Art in the Schools program, over 2,500 students receive art education each week, and standardized test scores have improved dramatically.
In 2001, before the Art in Schools Program began, the average art test scores in the 3 pilot schools were 57%. After one year in the program the average art test score increased by 29% to 86%.
And success was not limited to arts testing; reading and math scores improved dramatic. In 2001, the average reading score was 67%. In 2003 the scores increased to 71%. The same was true for math with an increase from 66% to 69%.
Research supports the positive impact of art instruction on academic performance, and the Edmond Public School board is committed to continuing this innovative partnership with great appreciation for the funding provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
But the Fine Arts Institute’s work goes beyond these exemplary classroom benefits. Being educated in the processes of creativity improves students’ ability to think critically and to solve problems by envisioning alternative solutions.
Art students find their voices in the world and become more visible and resilient, all the capacities that gives students a sense of their own agency and can empower them to break the cycle of poverty.
Support from the Oklahoma Arts Council is crucial to the ongoing work of the Fine Arts Institute, and budget cuts would hem in their ability to provide programs and build capacity among Edmond elementary school students as they are doing now.
This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.