Yesterday was a special one over at the White House. As Honorary Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed student performers from across the country as they took the stage in the East Room for the first-ever White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show. But this wasn't just any talent show. These performances were part of a larger administration effort to leverage art, artists, and significant Department of Education resources to turnaround the nation's worst performing schools.
The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities partnered with the Department of Education's School Turnaround program to bring the arts to some of our most troubled schools. Because we know that the arts serve to inspire young people to reach higher and that students involved in the arts do better in school and are more likely to enroll and complete college. The results of the Turnaround Arts program has been so successful in these difficult to serve communities that the program will be quadrupling in size. This fall the program will be adding 35 schools in 11 states, and serving over 10,000 students, ensuring they have access to arts education.
The talent show had something for everyone. Elementary school students from Oregon shared the stage for a song and dance with arts enthusiast and television and movie star Sarah Jessica Parker; middle schoolers banged away on giant xylophones to Caribbean beats; award winning actress Alfre Woodard shared the stage with student musicians from New Orleans with a spoken word and music performance about life after Katrina; and elementary school students from Boston danced and sang to "Wake Me Up!" by Avicii, all of it and more to the audience's delight. If yesterday's show was any indication, the talent coming out of these schools will make for a hot ticket for years to come.
Check out the video of the inaugural White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show below: