Throughout May and June, Regional Arts Victoria is raising funds to help disadvantaged regional school students experience high quality art. In this blog series, Regional Arts Victoria staff reflect on why a good arts education is so important for children and young people.
The phrase “The Arts” entered my brain when I moved from regional New South Wales to Melbourne in my early twenties. I say my brain and not my vocabulary, as it was a phrase I was hesitant to use at the time. Growing up, like many people The Arts/arts management/being an artist had been subliminally presented to me as a non-option; arts were nice but not important, and artists were elite people. I didn’t feel particularly elite, so it seemed like this whole arts thing didn’t really apply to me.
As a kid my family were on-and-off welfare support necessitated by the combination of living in a regional area, the impermanent nature of contract work, and fluctuating family circumstances. You need money to live, and this fact was impressed upon me from a very young age. The average person doesn’t make a lot of money from their creative work, and having no money didn’t seem like a practical idea to the influential people in my life. There had been no arts organisations for them in their youth, their creative expression hadn’t been nurtured or valued in discussions about their futures either. They could not push me towards a thing that did not, in their experience, exist.
When I moved to Melbourne I began working for a youth arts organisation. Through their work I was introduced to the idea that creativity, particularly the creativity of young people, has valuable power. I saw the impact of this idea grow inside the people around me, and continue to feel the ripples of this experience in myself.
Through our Education & Families Program, Regional Arts Victoria gives kids (particularly disadvantaged kids) access to art: performances, provocations, workshops, resources – ideas, that might otherwise remain obscure. By inviting kids to share in and make art, we broaden their avenues for expression, and actively recognise the value of their contribution.
There’s only nine days left to share your pocket money so kids can experience art! Every $5 donated guarantees a place for one child.