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#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Gary Brackett on “Why Arts Education is Important”

Gary Brackett, President/CEO and Co-Owner Brackett Restaurant Group and former starting linebacker and Captain of the Indianapolis Colts

Gary Brackett, President/CEO and Owner Brackett Restaurant Group and former starting linebacker and Captain of the Indianapolis Colts

Art is an important part of my family’s life. Art–be it through spoken word, music, or gastronomy–is also a huge part of our Georgia Reese’s restaurant. We were thrilled to display an extraordinary piece of art by local Indiana artist Pamela Bliss in our restaurant during the 100th Running of the Indy 500. We know that art is good for the economy, and it elevates Indianapolis to a world-class city. But, I was asked why arts education is important to me. In short, I was recently stuck in traffic and saw a bumper sticker that read, “Earth without art is just eh”–I’m sure you have seen one like it! We all have! And hopefully it stayed with you like it did with me. Because who wants to live in a world of “just eh?” As a parent, I know many of you join me in wanting what is best for our children. We want our children to inherit an earth rich in beauty, diversity, art, and culture. We work hard so that our children can enjoy experiences we never had as children. We invest in our communities today because we want them to be full and robust for our children tomorrow. We do not want to leave a community that is “just eh” for our children. Instead, we want to leave them a community so deeply entrenched with exceptional art and culture that their quality of life is infinitely better than ours.

#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Notes from the 2016 VSA Intersections Conference

By Michele Pickard, Instrumental Music Educator, Edison School of the Arts

While preparing to attend the Kennedy Center’s VSA Intersections Conference in August, I was full of worry about missing the opening days of school at Edison School of the Arts, IPS #47. How far behind and out of the loop would I be when I returned to Indianapolis?

As soon as the opening session for the conference began my attention was captured and I was hooked. The opening session was a wonderful presentation–Sesame Street and Autism: Seeing Amazing in All Children. I do not know a person my age who has not watched Sesame Street as a child.

#ArtsEdWeekIndy: 9/12 Kickoff Celebration Recap


Thank you to those who were able to join us for the National Arts in Education Week Kickoff Celebration at the Indianapolis Artsgarden this afternoon! There were more than 60 people celebrating the kick off of National Arts in Education Week. Those in attendance had the opportunity to witness:

If you were unable to attend the Kickoff Celebration to pick up your copy of the 2016-2017 Community Report, you may download a copy here. The report includes information about the 2015 Data Collection as well as next steps for the 2016-2017 school year and beyond!

We hope you will join us this week as we continue our celebration of National Arts in Education Week in Indianapolis! The full schedule of activities and list of 26 arts organizations participating in the Week of Giving for arts programming can be found here.

A Message from Mayor Joe Hogsett – Celebrate National Arts in Education Week! from Arts Council of Indianapolis on Vimeo.



#ArtsEdWeekIndy: “I See Potential” by Michael Grady



Michael Grady, Any Given Child Indy Creative Engagement Committee Co-Chair & Sportscaster 93.5/1070 The Fan, WRTV-6, Pacers

The arts have played a huge role in my life and career. While I am a radio host and television sports anchor, my experience with the arts STILL influences my job performance. In elementary school, my ability to write song lyrics and poetry gave me confidence at a young age. It forced me to challenge myself and expand my vocabulary. I would read and write virtually every day. In my late teens and early 20s, I was able to perform my inspirational poetry at local high schools, colleges and universities, the Indiana State House, the Indiana Black Expo, and at numerous events. Public speaking, an area that so many struggle with, became a strength of mine. When I became the public address announcer for the Indiana Pacers, I was asked several times, “Do you get nervous speaking in front of nearly 20,000 people at home games?” My response is always, “No…” because of those early experiences that was made possible because of my interest in the arts.

#ArtsEdWeekIndy: A Message from Arts Council President & CEO, Dave Lawrence

NAEW Indianapolis Celebration WordmarkToday marks the beginning of National Arts in Education Week, a huge celebration recognizing the importance of the arts in a child’s education. This year, the Arts Council of Indianapolis will celebrate National Arts in Education Week from September 11 – 17 along with the rest of the country.

Throughout the week, the Arts Council’s Any Given Child Indy initiative will bring together arts organizations, educators, community leaders, and citizens for a series of presentations, discussions, and other events to highlight the work of arts educators and the importance of arts education for our city’s youth. To view the full calendar of events, please visit the Any Given Child Indy website at

Why designate the celebration of arts in education over an entire week? The arts are crucial to every child’s education. The arts create a vibrant city, drive creativity and innovation, build and strengthen our economy, drive tourism, and provide opportunities for communities to come together through positive self-expression and communication. Furthermore, studies have shown the following improved student outcomes as a result of arts education. Students are:

  • Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • Four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs
  • Three times more likely to be elected to class office

As we know, creativity and graduation rates have a big impact on the strength of any community, and that’s why the Indianapolis arts community is working with the Mayor’s office and Indianapolis Public Schools to improve outcomes for 22,000+ K-8 students through Any Given Child Indy. Since 1987, the Arts Council of Indianapolis has been working to increase access to the arts and encouraging that arts education initiatives are part of funded programs through our Annual Grants Program. Through recent research initiatives and as directed by our most recent strategic plan, the Arts Council endeavored to take a more direct role in providing access to quality arts education for all our youth in Indianapolis.

In 2015, the Arts Council began serving as the backbone organization, or administrative support arm, for a collective impact initiative in partnership with the Mayor’s office and Indianapolis Public Schools to ensure arts access to every K-8 student in IPS, including Mayor’s Charter Schools. The program is an initiative of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In May 2016, a team of civic, corporate, and nonprofit leaders across sectors completed year one of the program by creating a vision, articulating four specific goals and focus areas, and the beginning of a data-driven action plan based on surveys of teachers and arts organizations that will drive four years of implementation.

We invite you to join the Any Given Child Indy coalition to ensure access to the arts for our children in Indianapolis. Join us in the celebration of National Arts in Education Week in Indianapolis from September 11 – 17, 2016. Visit for more information on ways to become engaged during the week and celebrate the arts and arts integration programs for all youth in Indianapolis.


Dave Lawrence
President & CEO
Arts Council of Indianapolis

Special thanks to Metropolitan Youth Orchestra for helping us celebrate #ArtsEdWeekIndy by participating in the following video message from Arts Council of Indianapolis President & CEO Dave Lawrence:

It’s Indianapolis Arts in Education Week! from Arts Council of Indianapolis on Vimeo.


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