Funding for the arts in Oregon schools is at an all-time low. With tight educational budgets, music and the arts are among the first to go. For more than 22,000 elementary students in Portland Public Schools, for example, there are only 34 teachers of art, music, dance or drama COMBINED. Some schools share part-time instructors who shuttle between schools. Many have no arts program at all. In rural areas, the situation is even more dire, with even fewer possibilities for artistic expression.
Portland Opera To Go can't solve the larger issue of educational funding. But the experience of world-class artists in a close-up and personal way can be transformational: it shows students a range of human expression that is otherwise unimaginable.
Scientific research has demonstrated that exposure to the arts is essential to the development of key areas of the brain, and to overall socialization and growth. Long-term impacts include better socialization, cognition and cultural development.