On Monday, April 8, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma was the guest speaker at Americans for the Arts’ annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center in D.C. The Lecture was the kick-off for Arts Advocacy Day 2013, the annual convention of arts advocates from across the country to advance federal support of the arts, humanities, and arts education.
In his speech, Ma made the case that the arts embody many of the characteristics employers are seeking in today’s workforce. He states:
“One of the topics I’ve been reading about recently is what kind of work force we need in the 21st century. What will our graduates need in order to succeed? The experts say we need four qualities in our students and in our workforce. They need to be:
- and Innovative.
“Now according to the 2012 IBM Global CEO Study, ‘Collaboration is the number‐one trait CEOs are seeking in their employees, with 75 percent of CEOs calling it critical.’ (“Leading Through Connections: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study”)
“The Council on Competitiveness says, ‘Those who learn to innovate will prosper in a global economy.’ (“Thrive. The Skills Imperative”)
“The Center for Public Education calls out ‘creativity and intellectual flexibility’ among other competencies. (“Defining a 21st Century Education: At a Glance”)
Ma went on to discuss the national movement from STEM education (science + technology + engineering + mathematics) to STEAM education (science + technology + engineering + arts + mathematics), stating, “STEM without STEAM loses steam, but STEM with STEAM will power our country forward. The qualities crucial to success in the 21st Century workforce will not come just from studying science, technology and engineering and math, as important as those disciplines are.”
Hundreds of arts leaders and supporters joined Ma on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, pressing for an increase in arts funding from the federal government. The goal is for funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to be restored to $155 million each per year. After 2012 budget cuts, the NEA received appropriations of approximately $146 million. Funding for the organization, which provides support to artists and arts organizations throughout the country, has steadily decreased each year.
Click the video link below to see Yo-Yo Ma’s full speech and performances from the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. For more information on Arts Advocacy Day 2013, visit www.artsusa.org/events/2013/aad.