The Ithaca City School District, responsible for the 8 total elementary schools I have had the honor of working in via The Hangar Theatre's Project 4 Artists in the Schools program, is facing a budget crisis. No surprise there.
On their list of things to cut is Arts and Music programs. Again, no surprise there. (To be fair, there is a long list of programs that are at risk of being cut/restructured/deleted.)
In my passions against this, I decided to write my very first letter to the editor. The format of stating my opinions in 200 words or less proved difficult, as my own passions in combination with the overwhelming data of the NEED for children to grow up in a high arts environment cannot be appropriately conveyed in this small word allotment.
The request from others to read both versions made me think that I should make them available.
The symmetry of Ithaca's problem also parallels that of the nation, that I decided to make the letters open and available to anyone who feels the need to opine on the topic.
All I ask is that if you use these letters, you
a) do it with kindness
b) Locate your own town's statistics on poverty, available through the US Census Bureau
c) Never give up the fight to keep arts available for all.