PBS SoCaL's LAaRT Shares 5 Reasons to Support Creativity

Last Updated by Jillian Tempesta on
Image from PBS SoCaL's PBS KIDS Writers Contest, by a local student

PBS SoCaL's Arts With Impact is a commitment within LAaRT  to feature stories about people whose art strengthens communities. This initiative focuses on artists from diverse backgrounds, amplifying unheard voices and viewpoints. The following stories-- funded by the California Arts Council-- illustrate five reasons Californians should invest in arts education. 


Why support the arts?

1. Improve academic performance

Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with just six months of arts or music instruction. Arts education also lowers high school dropout rates. In this LAaRT segment, Erin Gruwell of Freedom Writers shares how the written word changed the paths of 150 at-risk high school students once considered unteachable. Those students now advocate for at-risk youth as teachers, public speakers, counselors, and therapists.

2. Build strong communities

The arts foster civic pride, identity, and involvement in community services. "We keep our relationship with our Italian community, with the Italian cultural center in Westwood, the Italian council general and also the ambassador in DC because we're very proud of our heritage," says Rosie Lee Hooks, Watts Towers Arts Center Director. "We want to keep talking about Simon Rodia the wonderful gift he gave not just to Watts, CA, but to America. One immigrant built all of this, all by himself.” 

3. Create jobs

The arts and culture sector represents 3.25% of the nation’s GDP. That's a bigger share of the economy than tourism and agriculture! LA and Orange Counties alone house 48,192 arts-related businesses that employ 275,164 people, including these actresses who dub dramas like Desperate Housewives into Spanish for U.S. audiences. 

4. Support local business

Daniel Ho is a Grammy award-winning musician born and raised in Hawaii. His album Polani was the first solo ukulele album in history to receive a Grammy nomination. In 2008, Ho recorded several tracks for the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, including three remakes of pop hits translated into Hawaiian. Ho now designs his own instruments, which he sells in starter packs to make it easier for students to teach themselves music.

5. Help students find a place in the world

“When I was younger, I had trouble communicating with other people… difficulty understanding emotions," says USC Thornton School of Music student Mandi Anderson. Before unrolling at Orange County School of the Arts, Mandi confided to LAaRT producer Maria Hall-Brown, Mandi was unsure she'd even attend college. While deeply involved in OCSA's nurturing programs, Mandi found her voice.

"Part of having Aspergers is that I’m really sensitive to change. With singing, it kind of gives me a way to vent out my emotions and it lets me get rid of all that stress and all of that anxiety—especially when I sing a high note.”

You can catch LAaRT on PBS SoCaL Saturdays at 5pm, Mondays at 7pm, and Fridays at 8:30pm.


PBS SoCaL American Graduate


California Arts Council supports PBS SoCaLThe California Arts Council supports PBS SoCaL's Arts With Impact

Arts With Impact is funded by the California Arts Council, a state agency, advancing California through the arts and creativity. You can learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.

Sources for this post include the 2015 Otis Report on the Creative Economy and Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports for LA and Orange Counties from Americans for the Arts.