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Recap: PCCY's Artful Action Day

PCCY is advocating for arts education programs in Philadelphia schools.

On Thursday, June 5th, GroundSwell joined Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) and arts education advocates as they traveled to City Hall and Governor Corbett's Philadelphia office to express their concern for the state of arts education in Philadelphia.

 

PCCY was joined at City Hall last Thursday by concerned students, parents and educators. While the group expressed their thanks for the $120 million City Council has worked to provide to the School District of Philadelphia, there was still a message of concern over the lack of arts education in the schools. Students from Samuel Powel School created "worry dolls," which symbolized the students' worry over access to art in school. Students from Andrew Jackson school presented the dolls along with letters from themselves and their fellow students explaining why the arts are so important to them, and why they should be a part of their education.

The students from Jackson also brought a mosaic they put together - each piece telling a different student's story about his/her love of the arts. As the students stood outside City Council chambers displaying their mosaic and signs that read "Fund Music," "Fund Art" and "Thanks for Listening," they were greeted by several members of City Council who stopped and took time to speak with both the students and the press about arts education. NewsWorks was one of the media outlets covering the action and got some great quotes from both students and City Council members. It was so awesome to hear the students speak confidently about their love for the arts and the importance of arts education! We are grateful to all the councilmembers who took the time to speak with the students, including Council President Clarke, Councilman Squilla, Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilman Henon, Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Councilman Greenlee, Councilman O'Brien and Councilman Kenney. We'd like to give a special shout-out to Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. who not only stopped by more than once, but also introduced the students to Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Wolf, who just happened to be visiting City Hall that day.

Just before council began that morning, the Jackson students were joined by students from Cook Wissahickon Choir, who performed a medley of songs that included "The Star Spangled Banner," "Don't Stop Believing" and "Firework." People came out of their offices and chambers to listen to the choir fill City Hall with music. After a brief lunch break, the students were excited to march down South Broad to Governor Corbett's Philadelphia office to continue their artful action on the streets.

As they made their way to the Governor's office, the students were met with shouts of support and high fives from spectators - truly an awesome moment for anyone who witnessed it, and it definitely meant a lot to the students. Outside the Governor's office, the students enthusiastically displayed their mosaic and signs while the choir wowed passersby with more songs. The advocates were soon meet by two representatives from the Governor's office who listened intently while one of the younger students gave them worry dolls and letters and explained why she needs arts education. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for some great pictures of the action.

The day was filled with electricity, and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Thank you to PCCY for all your work on behalf of Philadelphia's children and families! We'd also like to thank the members of City Council and the staff of Governor Corbett's Philadelphia office for taking the time to speak with students and advocates. Thank You for Listening! Thank you to the parents and educators who work tirelessly for the best possible education for the children of Philadelphia. But most importantly, we are so thankful for - actually, we're pretty much in awe of - all the students who came out to speak up on behalf of their education and their future. It is clear that the future of arts advocacy is in good hands.