A Case for Art (20 mins): A Case for Art is a short film documenting and presenting the opportunity and conversation around Itasca area students who participated in a permanent art installation at the state-of-the-art US Bank Stadium - and reflecting on the role arts education plays in student success.
The film features ISD 318 students, art teacher Nikki Lehtinen, Itasca Community College instructor and artist Lea Friesen, The Reif Center president David Marty, MacRostie Art Center executive director Katie Marshall, artist and founder of Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art - Jeffrey T Larson. Students also reflect on the need for space if subjects like art and languages are to be re-introduced into the school system.
A Case for Art is an independent project by regional EMMY® nominated A+B Productions.
click the link below to watch video
A Message from the Director of A Case for Art
It was super late on a winter night in early 2015 and I was sitting at my computer tidying up the day's affairs. I wandered onto the Star Tribune online and thought I'd quickly catch up on local news before turning in for the night. I came across an article, a call out to artists across the nation to submit their works for a chance to exhibit their art in the hallways of the new state-of-the-art $1.13 billion Vikings stadium in an art collection that "honors the tradition of sports and culture in Minnesota." I forwarded the article to a friend - Robert J Elkington middle school art teacher Nikki Lehtinen, thinking that it would be a great opportunity.
A few months later, I was excited to find out that Nikki had lodged a submission to the Vikings, an idea for an exhibit of colorful paintings of various sportspeople by her art students.
It was over a drink and pizza at Zorbaz on Pokegama Lake in March of 2016 that my co-producer Benjamin and I found out the great news! Next to professional artists whose works were selected, the art students of independent school district 318 in Itasca County were the only middle school and high school students selected from across the nation to have their artwork exhibited at the Vikings stadium.
Art isn't offered as a subject in ISD 318 until 8th grade, so the fact that many of the students chosen for the Vikings exhibit were first-year art students was both astounding and inspirational to me. I knew we had to capture their story and that's when A Case for Art was born.
As artists, we recognize the importance of arts education for our personal and career development and how students educated and well-versed in arts have more opportunities in today's rapidly shifting job market.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, I can only attribute my growth and skills and the amazing creative opportunities that have opened up to me, to my arts education and art teachers. I was blessed to have had art as a subject from kindergarten all the way through to high school - through its various forms including Graphics, Textiles and Photography.
A growing body of studies, including those in the research compendium Critical Links (National Center for Education Research), presents compelling evidence connecting student learning in the arts to a wide spectrum of academic and social benefits. Research has shown that the benefits of student learning experiences in the arts include:
• Reading and Language Skills
• Mathematics Skills
• Thinking Skills
• Social Skills
• Motivation to Learn
• Positive School Environment
With the approval of yesterday's referendum, the possibility of re-instituting arts education and programming is closer to becoming a reality for the children of our community.
My hope is that the voices of the students in this film will both inspire and challenge our notions regarding arts and education.
This film is dedicated "to the inspirational kids of Independent School District 318 in Itasca County, Minnesota and the teachers who believe in them."