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Arts Playlist: Delaware Institute for Arts in Education celebrates 40th anniversary

A teacher professional development session with teaching artist Emie Hughes
A.T. Moffett
Delaware Institute for Arts in Education
A teacher professional development session with teaching artist Emie Hughes

Arts education is proven to have profound effects on students and how they learn. But too often, arts education is only accessible to the wealthy, leaving low-income or disenfranchised families on the outside looking in.

The Delaware Institute for Arts in Education celebrates its 40th anniversary of working to make arts education available to all this year

And on this week’s Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon chats with the group’s new executive director A.T. Moffett.

Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon talks with DiAE's new executive director A.T. Moffett

Moffett is a performer, higher education dance teacher and published researcher.

She says the arts are part of a well-rounded education, but not everyone has equal access to it. That’s where DiAE comes in as it enters its fifth decade of work.

“I’ll use a dance metaphor if I can – we think about that as stability, like how we stabilize the body so that we can have mobility through the space,” Moffett says. “That's a way that I kind of think about the next 40 years, is how can we continue to stabilize, make sure that our foundation is strong at the same time as we're going to try to mobilize into new areas where we see a need and where we can be a support to what's in motion.”

DiAE’s team of teaching artists work in one of three programs – K-12 residency, early childhood, and teacher professional development. Moffett says their work is built upon whatever classrooms already have in place, and then building up the creativity and critical thinking through the arts.

“We see our work as supporting that goal of providing arts to every student in Delaware,” Moffett says. “And then more specifically around issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and access, that is a big push that is taking place sector wide in Delaware.”

She says 91% of Americans believe that arts are a part of a well rounded K-12 education and research points to that too. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, college going rates, and lower dropout rates.

Arts education also points to better mental health, and Moffett says the social-emotional learning aspect of it is a way to actualize students’ goals.

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Kyle McKinnon is a producer for The Green with a passion for storytelling and connecting with people.