Miss Illinois Visits Mayor of Peoria

Non-Profit Arts Sector is Economic Engine for Peoria

The Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS) is excited to share the first of what we hope is many Official Proclamations to come in support of Arts in Education. It is an honor to partner and support this important cause with Miss Illinois 2019 – Ariel Beverly and we thank the City of Peoria and Mayor Jim Ardis for their commitment to the arts in the Peoria community and schools.

For Immediate Release:

Ariel Beverly
508 S. Park Avenue
Herrin, IL 62948
Cell: 618-713-2216
Office: 618-967-8637

September 10, 2019

Non-Profit Arts Sector is Economic Engine for Peoria

ILLINOIS – While touring Illinois schools during this National Arts in Education Week (September 8 – 14), Miss Illinois Ariel Beverly is reaching out to mayors and other elected officials to support the arts in high school and recognize its impact on students.

One of Beverly’s stops was to meet with Mayor Jim Ardis who signed a proclamation declaring September 15 as Arts in Education Day in Peoria. The city’s arts community is becoming a destination for arts in the Midwest with museums showcasing Smithsonian exhibits, a Civic Center Theater, Sculpture Walk and the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

“The nonprofit arts sector is a huge economic engine in our community and as the proclamation says, ‘we know that arts education enables students to develop critical thinking skills, imagination, discipline, and ways to express their feelings, all of which support academic success across the curriculum as well as personal growth outside the classroom,’” Ardis said.

Beverly has witnessed a decline of the arts and art funding in schools firsthand. As a former art student, art teacher, and now art advocate, she wants to see an art teacher in every school Currently, more than 80% of Illinois do not require students to take a single course in the arts in order to graduate.

“Another reason we need art in our schools is because low income students with a low participation in the arts have a 22% dropout rate,” Beverly said. “On the other hand, students with a high participation in the arts have only a 4% dropout rate.”

Although arts education is comprised of a wide array of disciplines such as music, theater, visual arts, media arts, literature, design and visual arts; many of those skills integrate with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program through projects like 3-D design printing, coding or digital art.

According to Beverly, students who are part of a STEM program gain a competitive edge when they also study art. This concept provides a holistic approach to learning spurring students to be innovative and think creatively.

“I saw students who had a fear of not being perfect or not having perfect grades,” Beverly said. “The arts can help with those issues because they learn that art allows for creativity and not being perfect. They get a chance to experience using a different part of their mind that they’re not using as much.”

To learn more about the #IncludeTheArts initiative or partnering with Miss Illinois Ariel Beverly in advocating for the arts and raising awareness in the Illinois school system, e-mail Media@MissIllinoisEvents.com or call her media representative at 618-713-2216.

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