A core part of SBAC’s mission is to offer opportunities for young students of color to find expression in creative outlets. Advocates have long established the power of the arts in education. Young students engaged in the creative arts develop both academic skills and character development. These abilities include mastering self-expression, building resilience, improving cognition and self-confidence, and developing enhanced communication skills—all of which lead to improved academic performance and success in life after graduation.
But data shows that area-based Black and Latino students are less likely to be consistently involved in arts activities and instruction than their white counterparts. That gap is the reason SBAC recently launched our three-year “Syllabus of Color” initiative, a comprehensive effort to tackle systemic disparities and to engage families, schools, and cross-sector community partners to implement the principles of diversity and inclusion
in arts education in area-based middle and high schools. The first tier of the project begins with students in 5th through ninth grades at Booker Middle School and Booker High School.
To facilitate this, we are partnering with the Sarasota School system, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and other arts and cultural organizations to encourage and mentor students of color to explore their creativity in the arts and facilitate educational opportunities for students to learn about art created by people of color. The initiative also invites college students studying the arts to volunteer as mentors. These young ambassadors will encourage middle and high school students to visit museums and arts spaces and to attend performing arts events.