A new book – The Muses Go to School: Conversations About the Necessity of Arts in Education – has hit bookshelves across the country, pairing first-person accounts from leading artists and celebrities with interpretive commentary by progressive educators to produce a powerful case for positioning the arts at the center of school curriculums.
Editors Herbert Kohl and Tom Oppenheim asked leading artists to describe the profound learning experiences they enjoyed as a result of school arts programs. After each celebrity interview, distinguished educators respond and situate the anecdotes in terms of learning, teaching and education policy. With topics ranging from social engagement to hyperactivity, these smart and entertaining voices serve as a critique of the growing national trend to eliminate the arts in public education.
The star-studded cast of contributors includes Whoopi Goldberg, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Deborah Meier, Bill T. Jones, Bill Ayers, Lisa Delpit, Rosie Perez, Phylicia Rashad, Diane Ravitch and Maxine Greene.
Proceeds from the book go to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s outreach division, a program dedicated to providing inner city youth with free actor training. Established in 1949 by Stella Adler, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting was founded upon Adler’s belief in the supreme seriousness of her art, and has, for the last five decades, enriched every part of the American theater and film arts. Adler’s philosophies kept many well-known members of the theater coming back for her intelligent and passionate advice and the school has since trained many of the brilliant actors of our time, including Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Elaine Stritch, Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting is a nonprofit organization, which trains over 500 actors annually and also presents world-class lectures, poetry readings, jazz, classical music, theater, and dance theater events.