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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Chelsea's Charity one 10 year old Black Girl reminds us that ART MATTERS?

My purpose is not to get religious in my blog today, but to pint out that truth being spoken by children is as old as it gets. We find in the scriptures Matthew 21:15 and 16 the following
The chief priests and scribes were indignant when they saw the wonders He performed and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David!. Jesus answered have you never read? From the mouths of children and infants, you have ordained praise."

We also have this from former United States Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley:

“I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training – training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.”

Our Literacy Center Kids are getting excited about Chelsea Art 4 Kids visit on 12/2/19. It is our 2019 CCSU Literacy Center A-List Happening Event. Thank you, Ana Grace Project, ( for making this happen. School of Education Dean Kim Kostelis, our Social Emotional Learning Committee are sponsors as well, ( 

We have a great event planned, beginning with meet and greet Chelsea Phaire in our Literacy Center, then making some sign for our silent march 4 Art over to the CCSU Constitution Room for Chelsea's art lesson. To have some cookies, and to hear about this amazing young 10-year-old philanthropist who gathers brand new art supplies in kits to send to children without their own art supplies in their homes.

There is another narrative here besides Art 4 kids. Chelsea has a strong Black Mother and Father, and her whole family to help her make this world a better place for others.  This is a Black Narrative too seldom shared on mainstream media. These are the narratives that drive my view of Black Families. Not broken, not weak, but amazingly United, Strong and Beautiful. In two weeks Central Connecticut State University Ana Grace Project, SEPS and our Literacy Center will highlight one of those beautiful Black Family narratives. Narratives I have known since I was a child growing up in a diverse community. If you don't know this kind of Black narrative, then my thinking is you have never been invited to a large Black Family gathering of multiple generations from all corners of America? The Family has always been strong in Black America.

Over the past 35 years, I have found so many children in our public schools with great ideas about how to help others. But our focus on narrow standards and testing almost always seem to let those great ideas fade away. Imagine a world where public schools help our children put foundations under those dreams? In two weeks' time, we are going to put front and center an amazing young philanthropist 10-year-old Black Girl. Why because of Art Matters! So do the dreams and hopes of children who want to start making this world a better place right now. Children don't want to wait until they grow up to make our world a better place. They want to start today. 
Children get the fact that everyone needs art, and art needs to be in their schools. They get the idea that art is far more important than testing. Children can find ways to improve our world. All we need do is listen to them.

Our CCSU dignitaries are coming and helping to promote this Art 4 Kids Event, and hopefully, some press will come to listen, see, and learn about a different narrative, the kind that seldom makes the evening news.

This is the time of the semester where parents always come over to talk to me about our program here. They always say my child loves coming here, everything makes sense to them, thank you...I always say thank you for sharing your amazingly talented child with us. Please come back. There is no secret to what we do, but the center of our work puts children first, meets the child where they are at, and deeply honors their right to be a child. Something else our parents understand that we need more art, more music, more dance, more play, in our public schools.

Our children understand something far too many of our policymakers and legislators forget, art matters more than testing, and art needs to be a part of every school day. So, we are adding a silent march for art to our Art 4 Kids event on 12/2/19. We are already making our signs for our march for art before Chelsea's event. Chelsea, our children, parents, and teachers will join in solidarity for ART, and then enjoy Chelsea Phaire's art lesson. All will leave with an art kit of their own thanks to the Ana Grace Project.  Children understand that art matters.
Every Teacher, school social worker, school counselor, and school psychologist understand that art heals.

How policymakers, legislators, and education reformers are not spending billions and billions to put the arts front and center in our schools is beyond me. The saddest tragedy about the Education Reforms of the past 20 years is they have often pushed art out of the lives of Black, Brown, Poor and Special Education Children in our public schools, and replaced it with test prep.
Art matters,
Dr. Turner CCSU Literacy Center Director
The narrative of Art and doing good for others is worth fighting for!

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my walk this morning over the Avon Mountain its Don Mclean's "Vicent Starry, Story Night"


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