University launches its annual A&E Council drive; goal is $30K

A recent study by Stanford University and the Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching shows that young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week for at least one full year are:

• four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement;

• three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools;

• four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair;

• three times more likely to win an award for school attendance; and

• four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

Of course, the Arts & Education (A&E) Council of Greater St. Louis has known such things for decades. Since 1963, the A&E Council — which does not receive government support and relies solely on donations from local individuals and institutions — has raised more than $63 million to support hundreds of St. Louis-area arts, cultural and educational organizations.

University employees are again being asked to contribute to the A&E Council’s annual fund drive.

“It is important that we all do our part to keep the arts thriving in St. Louis,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton wrote in a letter to University employees. “For more than 40 years, the Arts & Education Council has been helping St. Louisans enjoy and experience the arts and see the world in new, creative ways.

“For all of those years, the Washington University community has been one of the most generous contributors to the Council’s annual campaign. I hope that we will once again be able to make the kind of contribution that represents our commitment to the importance of the arts in our region.”

Faculty and staff received Wrighton’s letter earlier this week, along with a packet of information about this year’s campaign, called “Keep Art Happening,” and a pledge card that explains how contributions are used and the benefits to those who contribute.

“Our goal is to raise $30,000 from Washington University faculty and staff for the campaign,” Wrighton noted. “Please consider even a small gift to this important campaign. It is amazing to think that if just 2,000 of our 14,000 employees gave $4 a month, we could raise nearly $100,000!”

All contributors of $50 or more will receive the A&E Card, which entitles them to receive two-for-one or half-price tickets to more than 200 events and performances each year.

Participating venues include Jazz at the Bistro, St. Louis Black Repertory Company, Dance St. Louis, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and many others. Such contributors will also receive the bi-monthly Arts Newsletter, where all of these special deals are listed.

More importantly, that $50 contribution will provide pointe shoes for a ballerina, or fuel a theater touring van for a week, or allow an aspiring artist to attend a six-week drawing or painting class. A contribution of $100 underwrites a summer scholarship, creates a teacher-education packet or supplies a needy dance student with shoes and clothing.

“We simply cannot take the economic and social impact of our fine cultural organizations for granted,” said campaign chair Jeff Pike, dean of the School of Art. “By supporting the A&E Council, we help build a climate of high expectations and academic rigor while allowing our young people learn vital problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.”

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