Local artists advocate for schools to restore funding for music, arts

A collection of local artists performed in LOVE Park in a rally to advocate for the cash-strapped public school district to restore arts and music programs left on the budget-cutting room floor.  Credit: Tommy Rowan/Metro
A collection of local artists performed in LOVE Park in a rally to advocate for the cash-strapped public school district to restore arts and music programs left on the budget-cutting room floor. Credit: Tommy Rowan/Metro

Kelli Caldwell played the clarinet in the J.S. Jenks elementary school band. She sang in the Girls High Choir.

Yesterday Caldwell, along with a collection of local artists, performed in LOVE Park in a rally to advocate for the cash-strapped public school district to restore arts and music programs left on the budget-cutting room floor.

“Arts education is such an effective, creative outlet for our youth,” Caldwell said. “Most times the music programs create that outlet for them to divert that energy.”

As a result of the adopted “Doomsday budget,” public schools plan to cut athletics, art and music programs from the curriculum to help close a $304 million deficit. While the district did receive some relief from the state, school officials have not yet determined how the funds will be distributed.

In the meantime, Caldwell and her band of public-school products sang and danced with the younger generation and in between sets explained the issues. And encouraged them to become involved.

“We may not be able to change the fact that the budget cuts have taken the music programs as far as costs 2013,” Caldwell said, “But here are some alternative programs that are within the community and are proactively creating that outlet for our youth.”

Calwell’s artists, members of Loud Belle Productions, endured the public school system where their musical interests were cultivated. She called the rally a “musical demonstration from the local music community to show Philadelphia the importance of keeping these arts programs”

“We are products of how music programs can shape someone,” she said.


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