Music to Our Ears: Children Involved in the Arts More Civically Engaged

We all "know" that the arts benefits children - but just what are some of those benefits? According to a National Endowment of the Arts study done last year, it has a broad spectrum of benefits, especially for children in low-income families. 

From the study (SES means socioeconomic status): 

  • High-arts, low-SES students were 15 percent more likely to enroll in a highly or moderately selective four-year college than low-arts, low-SES students (41 percent versus 26 percent).
  • Students with access to the arts in high school were three times more likely than students who lacked those experiences to earn a bachelor's degree (17 percent versus five percent).
  • High-arts, low-SES college students had the highest rates of choosing a major that aligns with a professional career, such as accounting, education, nursing, or social sciences (30 percent), compared to low-arts, low-SES students (14 percent) and the overall SES sample (22 percent)

And music to our ears: 

More civically engaged - Young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not, with comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting, and engagement with local or school politics. In many cases, this difference appears in both low-and high-SES groups.

Do you have a nonprofit or know of one that helps Alexandria’s at-risk kids with learning, health and well-being, and preparing for a better future? Then apply to our Caring for Kids Grant Challenge by July 1st! 

With that mind, please think about enrolling your children and/or supporting these organizations that enhance childrens' lives with the arts: 

Access Through the Arts

Kaleidoscope for Kids: Kaleidoscope for Kids, an arts festival geared specifically for children of all ages and their families. We have an amazing line-up of nationally and critically acclaimed artists and performers, with plenty of hands-on activities.

ACPS Center for the Arts

The ACPS Center for the Arts is a K-12 Media, Visual and Performing Arts Center that functions as a program of ACPS and serves all students K-12. The ACPS Center for the Arts K-12 is not in one location, it is an initiative that's designed to support arts events in 12 elementary schools, 1 K-8 School, 5 middle schools and 1 high school of Alexandria City Public Schools to provide curriculum enrichment to enhance the aesthetic arts educational experience in concert with the other core area subjects.

Alexandria Harmonziers

Youth Harmony Festival: The Youth Harmony Festival provides music educators skilled in the art of youth music education, along with teaching quartets, coaches, and judges from the Barbershop Harmony Society, Sweet Adelines International and the Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus.

Harmony Workshops: As part of our ongoing mission to support youth harmony, the Alexandria Harmonizers have developed a Harmony Workshop program which extends our ability to provide expert vocal instruction directly to public and private school classrooms. All expenses (instructional materials, music educator salaries, and transportation) to support Harmony Workshops are covered by the Alexandria Harmonizers. Local schools can arrange for Harmony Workshops to be conducted in their classrooms at no cost, saving valuable resources for other music education initiatives.

Alexandria School of the Performing Arts

The Alexandria School for the Performing Arts offers quality music arts lessons taught by experienced and certified teachers to the community at a very low program service fee to benefit low income families and at risk children in Alexandra. Performing Arts Classes in: Brass Ensemble, Dance, Guitar, Piano, Voice, Percussion.

Art on the Avenue

Art on the Avenue is a multi-cultural arts festival celebrating our community's diversity through the arts in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. This festival is held on the first Saturday in October, rain or shine!

Arts on the Horizon

Arts on the Horizon was founded as a non-profit theatre company with a specific focus of providing performances and education programs for young people ages 0 to 6 years old.

BalletNova in Alexandria

Youth classes: BalletNova Center for Dance offers classes and workshops to over 850 children and adult students in ballet, jazz, modern, tap and conditioning.

Del Ray Artisans

Art Camp: Del Ray Artisans invites young campers to spend a week creating art with professional artist instruction.

Eco Vocce

Celebrate Nature: EcoVoce's outreach concert program designed especially for young audiences (K-5) to explore the wonders of nature through engaging classical vocal music.

Port City Playhouse

Youth Classes: Port City Playhouse offers a variety of theater classes for children and teens.


Quintango has developed residencies and outreach programming that reflect our strong support for arts education. Working with our dance director Carina Losano andthe musicians of QuinTango, we offer school concerts, residencies with musicand/ordance instruction, senior citizen programming or workshops for teachers, musicians, and dancers.

The Art League

Space of Her Own: an art-based mentoring program through which we serve at-risk, 5th-grade Alexandria girls. We also provide opportunities to get involved and serve the community by volunteering at The Art League at SOHO, in the gallery, in our art camp, and more.

Alexandria Little Theatre

Youth Classes: The Little Theater offers a variety of theater and music classes for children and teens.


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