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Michelle Obama Takes a Stand for Arts in Schools

On Wednesday, July 16, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the keynote address at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award luncheon and made one thing clear: arts education must be a top priority in our schools.


In her address Obama highlighted the dire circumstances that our country faces with the lack of arts and music in schools. “Six million American children attend schools with no art or music classes, that’s such a tremendous loss, not just for our kids but for our nation,” she asserted. She also affirmed that every arts organization in the country should follow the lead of the Grammy Museum, and focus on providing arts education to combat this dearth of programming.

The Grammy Museum has worked with the First Lady since 2009 to produce concerts and music education programs for young people, bringing 1,000 students to Washington, D.C. to see live performances. “Those are some of my favorite events at the White House,” Obama said.

The luncheon honored musician Janelle Monae and Placentia school teacher Sunshine Cavalluzzi.

Singer-songwriter Janelle Monae, said music saved her when she was growing up in a rough neighborhood. “Music helped me really deal with my emotions, when I could not articulate how frustrated I was,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to get it all out.”

Click here to see the video of the First Lady delivering the Keynote Address.

We here at GroundSwell certainly share the First Lady’s sentiments and will continue to shine a light on the importance of arts education in southeastern Pennsylvania.