First Lady Michelle Obama presented the nominees for Best Picture and announced "Argo" as the winning film via satellite.

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the nominees for Best Picture and announced “Argo” as the winning film via satellite.

The big winner at Sunday night’s Academy Awards was arts education. In two key moments, a spotlight was shone on the important role the arts play in children’s lives.

At the end of the broadcast, there was the wonderful statement of support by First Lady Michelle Obama. She said, “They are especially important for young people. Every day they engage in the arts, they learn to open their imaginations and dream just a little bigger and to strive every day to reach those dreams.”

But before the First Lady’s surprise appearance, there was another big moment for arts education during the Best Documentary Short category. The winning film, Inocente, is the story of a 15-year-old girl who refuses to let her dream of becoming an artist be stifled by her life as an undocumented immigrant forced to live homeless for the last nine years.

Inocente was introduced to the arts through a program in San Diego called ARTS | A Reason To Survive, which uses therapeutic arts programming, arts education, and college & career preparation to create pathways to success for youth facing adversity. Founder Matt D’Arrigo is a member of Americans for the Arts and we featured his programs in our December 2012 edition of the Monthly Wire, our member newsletter.

The following video from San Diego’s ABC affiliate shows the arc of events for Inocente—starting homeless, then participating in ARTS’ programs, all the way up to production of the documentary and standing onstage at the Oscars after Americans for the Arts Artists Committee member Kerry Washington revealed her story as the winning documentary: 

(Editor’s Note: Because it is a Flash video, it may not play properly in your browser. To view it on their site visit bit.ly/artseddoc).

Kudos to filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine for the incredible job they did conveying the power of the arts to build resiliency and transform lives.

Thanks to Matt and his team for providing these essential arts programs to youth in San Diego and for sharing this success story with the rest of us!

6 Responses to “And the Oscar Goes to…Arts Education”

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  2. [...] "The big winner at Sunday night’s Academy Awards was arts education. In two key moments, a spotlight was shone on the important role the arts play in children’s lives."  [...]

  3. [...] The big winner at Sunday night’s Academy Awards was arts education. In two key moments, a spotlight was shone on the important role the arts play in children’s lives. At the end of the broadcast, t…  [...]

  4. [...] The big winner at Sunday night’s Academy Awards was arts education. In two key moments, a spotlight was shone on the important role the arts play in children’s lives. At the end of the broadcast, t…  [...]

  5. [...] And the Oscar Goes to…Arts Education ! (Posted by Kristen Engebretsen Feb. – 26 – 2013) [...]

  6. [...] honored the battles and sacrifice at Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall. And during this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama honored the transformative power of the arts and arts education for [...]

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ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:

Arts Education

Early Arts Education

Common Core Standards

Quality, Engagement & Partnerships

Emerging Leaders

Taking Communities to the Next Level

New Methods & Models

Public Art

Best Practices

Evaluation

Arts Marketing

Audience Engagement

Winning Audiences

Powered by Community

Animating Democracy

Arts & the Military

Scaling Up Programs & Projects

Social Impact & Evaluation

Humor & Social Change

Private Sector Initatives

Arts & Business Partnerships

Business Models in the Arts

Local Arts Agencies

Cultural Districts

Economic Development

Trends, Collaborations & Audiences

Art in Rural Communities

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.