May 24th, 2021

Educator Voice: The power of arts education during COVID

Arts & CultureCoronavirus

If you would like to sign up for NewsHour EXTRA’s Educator Zooms, click here.

On Wed., May 19, guests Mekka Don, a recording artist whose song “Still Dope” was released the day before, and Laura Grundler, art coordinator in a Texas school district, and co-founder of #K12ArtChat, along with host Sari Beth Rosenberg, a high school history teacher, joined educators, students and family members from across the country to discuss the impact of the arts and arts education over the past year.

As with all NewsHour EXTRA Zoom sessions, the educator audience played an active role throughout the conversation.

Guests and hosts summarize Zoom session (12 minutes)


Laura Grundler on funding SEL

“I really do believe that the arts are the original SEL (social-emotional learning) curriculum” —Laura Grundler


Mekka Don on the ways the arts inspire passionate teaching


Sari Beth Rosenberg on the importance of funding arts education and artists

“What helps us heal more than music and art, I can’t name anything else?” —Sari Beth Rose


Mekka Don on the importance of art to inspire feelings of hope in difficult times

“I wanted to provide something exciting, hopeful, something for the people that even if just for 3 minutes, it made them feel good, it made them feel powerful…” — Mekka Don


Additional resources:

  • Are you an arts educator or a student interested in sharing your experience of the past year through a creative project? If so, there’s still time to submit to Hindsight 20/21, an art project with contributors from across the country that will be an expression of the ways the pandemic has affected individuals and their communities. Run in conjunction with CoBuild19Hindsight 20/21 offers a creative outlet to memorialize an unprecedented year. Click here for more — the deadline for submitting for our final showcase has been extended to May 30, and art submitted after may still be considered for inclusion on NewsHour EXTRA. For examples, see this post.


You can read this NewsHour EXTRA post from Mekka Don produced after the death of Chadwick Boseman and his power to inspire young people.

If you would like to contribute to Educator Voice, NewsHour EXTRA’s blog on how current events affect life for educators including school personnel, please send your idea to Vic Pasquantonio at

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