Speaking Up for the (Participatory) Arts

by Rima Dael, Executive Director

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photo by Ryan Carollo

Today is National Arts Advocacy Day, hosted by Americans for the Arts, and we are celebrating by developing a new partnership with Children’s Music Network, a like-minded organization, to address how both our organizations can better connect with educators and artists that bring participatory arts into classrooms. We’re looking forward to our conversations!

I also want to take a moment to remind you of how we at CDSS advocate for the arts year ‘round and why…

First, we believe that participatory arts change lives. (Has it changed yours? Or someone you know?)

Second, we believe, and have experienced, that the participatory arts of English and North American traditional dance, music and song spread joy and build community which, in turn, change lives.

Next, with almost 100 years of experience, we know that participatory dance, music and song thrive within communities. And because we believe this, we want to make sure communities which support our participatory arts continue to thrive.

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photo by Erin Nolan

The work of CDSS is to ensure there are people, places and communities where this can happen. We will harness our resources nationally to build resilient communities which ensure the continuity and preservation of the traditional dance, music and song which we love.

We already share the work that CDSS does and its importance in different ways:

We advocate strongly for the inclusion of participatory arts for children, families and adults.

We talk to elected officials and legislators of the importance of the arts in our communities. We did that in October 2013 by testifying to the MA legislators.

We make available CDSS resources that you can take to build up your dance, music or song community: tools from past leadership conferences, our online library of resources: and our how-to-kits.

And as mentioned above, we are partnering with Children’s Music Network to discuss strengthening our connection with classroom educators and artists.

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photo by Sarah Strong

And, as always, places to find and build community and your own skills in dance, music and song are at our summer camps. Sign up for a week, and dance and sing your brains out this year!

Participatory arts change lives! Pass it on.