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Anti-crime programs rely on arts

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Anti-crime programs rely on arts

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• Arts programs help at-risk youth channel their
energies into constructive activities, author of study says.



LANSING - Some Michigan

es have new weapons in
ti ^«n crime arsenals - paint
ushes, theater troupes and sym-
phony orchestras.

A report done for the Michigan
' " •rts and Cultural Af-
of the state's large
r pro-
part of
lion to improving

"Art programs indirectly have an
impact on crime/' said Bernard
Brock, director of the Center for Art
anc? ^ ' 1 c Policy at Wayne State
Un , ,,.

"You can't measure it, but people
who are at-risk who get involved in
arts progra ct their life and
go in a differs. election."

Brock's study, "Arts and Culture
and the Quality of Life in Michi-

^nnnced by a $27,000
)uncil. A follow-up

gan, wa?" ^n:

grant fro;

study will highlight experiences of
people whose lives have been af-
fected by involvement in the arts,
including participants in the sum-
mer stARTwork Program spon-
sored by I1'80 Ann ^or Art Associa-
tion. The ii be run again
this summer because

A spokeswoman for the Michigan
Departm^ ' ^ nw^umer and In-
dustry Si h houses the
arts ager want-
ed the re| -^••- ^>w:im- ';ierole
of the arts in Michigan.

Jan Fedewa said the report took
a broader view of the arts' role than
an earlier study on the economic
impact of the arts.

The la' )ort included a sur-
vey of ex s of more than two
dozen major arts on? ms in
Michigan and of aboi people
attending events at eight organiza-
tions across the state last July and


The sun d 70 percent of
the audience ^.lO <6 percent of the
executives agreed at least some-
what that people 'vbo attend arts
and cultural act re less likely
to commit crimes.

Brock's report said involving at-
risk youth in the arts helps cut
crime by teaching empathy and re-
spect for others, self-discipline and

He cited one study that found
only ^^^^ wSi the arts create
siron, i bonds with schools
to fulfill ai-nssk students' need to be
involved and prevent them from
dropping out. And students who
complete school are less likely to be
involved in crime, his re d.

MM^ha Chamherlin, p it of
the Ann Arbor Art Association, said
that she noticed a distinct differ-
ence in the participants of the
stARTwork program after they

"Inf -'^- •;•:n-•.T;^l^.nii-l';iined.
a lot o. ,-.. r t.,.,n,-,....,.,.. . ^;.i,ber-
lin said. The association surveyed
the participants before and after

the eight-week program concerning
how they felt about themselves, and
one admitted that if not for the pro-
gram she probably would have been
getting into trouble.

Lansing's BoarsHead Theater of-
fers workshop:- in area schools and
for mem the Boys and Girls
Club. Managing Director Judy
Peakes said students change after
going through the workshops.

"We're not interested in a prod-
uct at the end of it or in turning out
professional actors, but in helping
kids tap into their own creativity
and giving them a chance to ex-
press themselves creatively in a
safe environment. When that hap-
pens, it's amazing how they open
up," Peakes said.

The ability to express one's self
without being sul ' criticism is
especially important .u- at-risk stu-
dents who often are under strong
pressure to use drugs or engage in
other illegal activity, Peakes said.

C1 ;r L " attributes
stA nccess to the fact
that the participants are doing
something they enjoy.

"It's related to something they
care about," she said, "not mowing
lawns or the other jobs a 14- or 15-
year-old can get."

Brock's report also highlighted
research that shows arts participa-
tion can mean higher test scores.

One study found that students -
w* t k more than four years of
y ed course work scored 341
points higher on the verbal sections
and 18 points higher on the; math
sections of the SAT test than stu-
dents who took arts courses for less
than a year. ^

Researchers theorize that may
be true because the arts
creativity, problem-solving and in-

"Frequently, when a school dis-
trict has to cut its budget, the arts is
one of the first things to go," Peakes

"People are beginning to realize
now that may be counterproductive,
but we've got a long way to go to
educate the public and educators.
There are a lot of people who don't
see the connection yet," Peakes