COVID-19 leaves art organizations out of the classrooms and students without a tune

Posted at 4:06 PM, Dec 09, 2020

Some nonprofits are trying not to lose sight of their mission during these times.

Last year, social justice music echoed off the walls of classrooms. It was part of the work done by Motivate and Encourage Music Appreciation (MeMa Music), an arts-integrated social justice education group that aims to empower youth in underserved communities to use their voices to advocate for social justice and change. They help build students’ understanding of how artists have crafted messages of social change that encouraged speaking out.

But the founder, Jeanne Warsaw, has run into an artist block this year with the pandemic. Although virtual learning has become more commonplace, it’s not that easy for the arts.

“It’s very difficult, especially for the arts non-profit that specifically teaches instruments or sculpture or paintings,” Warsaw said. “It’s hard to transfer to remote learning.”

Warsaw says many school districts aren’t hiring groups like theirs because they’re focused on implementing their curriculum. MeMa is not the only non-profit impacted.

The Arts Education Partnership is a network of more than 100 organizations dedicated to advancing arts education. It conducted a survey this summer that showed that out of 16 arts education organizations across the country, 25 percent did not yet have a plan to reopen.