“There is no half-singing in the shower; you are either a rock star or an opera diva.”

– Josh Groban

James Brescia

SLO County Superintendent James Brescia

Our county is fortunate to have growing arts partnerships for many of our schools. Four wonderful organizations supporting students in all North County schools are Opera San Luis Obispo, Vina Robles Amphitheater, Symphony of the Vines, and Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. These arts organizations are partnering with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education in support of arts outreach. The partnerships are designed to encourage the arts by providing opportunities for students to experience and participate in the arts with professional artists in professional settings. We hope that our arts nonprofits stoke the embers of San Luis Obispo County’s creative spirit by working with our schools.

According to the most recent Arts and Economic Prosperity Survey, San Luis Obispo County arts and arts-related activities enhance our local economy with approximately 27 million in funding and expenditures. The arts is one of the most popular Career & Technical Education pathways selected by San Luis Obispo County students, and the Central Coast Economic Forecast refers to the positive impact the arts have on our local economy. Our county is also growing in cultural and artistic vibrancy because of the dedicated individuals who make the Central Coast their home.

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education Arts Partnership along with Opera San Luis Obispo and Vina Robles is currently planning an evening event in May for students, families and the community. To date, this partnership has afforded more than 6,000 North County students the opportunity to experience and work with professional artists in a professional venue. Funds for the event are provided by Mary Bianco, David Burt, Virginia Severa, the Moca Foundation, the Paso Robles Education Alliance, and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.

A partnership with Symphony of the Vines is providing complimentary admittance to students for the North County concerts, opportunities to meet the performers, and classroom outreach activities. Studios on the Park in Paso Robles is working with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education on plans to provide display space for all North County schools throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Local arts organizations support students in the arts by building a sense of community, communication skills, collaboration skills, public speaking experience, empathy, and compassion.

It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent and I hope that this article will spark discussion among all educational stakeholders about the power of becoming involved in arts outreach as a volunteer, patron or participant.

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