For Immediate Release:
September 2, 2019
Miss Illinois’ $1,000 #IncludeTheArts Challenge
CHICAGO – Advocating for the arts can take many forms, and for Ariel Beverly, it means using her Miss Illinois title as a springboard to action. She is challenging Illinois state classrooms to compete for an opportunity to win $1,000 in art supplies from sponsor Blick Art Materials by creating their own works of art.
During National Arts in Education Week, beginning Sept. 8, Beverly will be on a state tour meeting with school officials, teachers and students. At each stop she will be distributing thousands of blank postcards for students to create their own masterpiece.
Beverly also has partnered with the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, which will join the effort to distribute the masterpiece-in-waiting postcards to almost 500,000 students in more than 500 rural school districts.
Beverly plans to personally deliver the cards to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in anticipation of sparking a discussion about the importance of art education in schools as well as the positive impact it has on young people.
Also, at that time she will announce the classroom with the winning masterpieces. The winning classroom will receive $1,000 to be used for art education supplies. Beverly hopes to make this an annual event.
“Currently, over 80% of Illinois schools do not require students to take a single course in the arts in order to graduate,” Beverly said. “It all comes down to money and funding, so something that I really want to work on is getting an art teacher in every school.”
Americans for Arts’ research shows that low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely to graduate from college as their peers with no arts education. In fact, the low-income students with high participation in arts have a dropout rate of only 4% while their peers with a low participation rate in the arts have a dropout rate more than five times higher.
As a former high school art teacher, Beverly said, “I saw students who had a fear of not being perfect or not having perfect grades. The arts can help with those issues because they learn that art allows for creativity and not being perfect. They get a chance to experience using a different part of their mind that they’re not using as much.”
Almost 20% of Illinois school principals surveyed reported having no arts program in their school, which included visual arts, theater, music or dance. Similarly, superintendents reported that none of the four art disciplines were considered part of the core curriculum for their district.
Equipped with those statistics, Beverly is expecting her #IncludeTheArts Postcard Project is to spark Illinois students’ interest in the arts and to also spark a serious discussion among government leaders to recognize the long-term value of the arts in education.
For more information about the #IncludeTheArts Postcard Project or booking a stop on Ariel Beverly’s Illinois state tour, e-mail Media@MissIllinoisEvents.com or call her media representative at 618-713-2216 or visit www.IncludeTheArts.com.