Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

Lifelong Benefits of Exposure to the Arts

Before a child speaks, they sing. Before they write, they paint. As soon as they stand, they dance. Art is the basis of human expression — Phylicia Rashad

As a graduate of Deerfield High School, I’m a product of District 113’s solid arts education, which led me to a professional career in acting, singing and producing. Not all art students will go on to have professional careers, but the arts are equally important to all students.

The lifelong benefits cannot be overstated: Students who have exposure to culture and arts education perform better in school and in life. And people who attend live performances are happier, more connected to others and tend to live longer.

During the pandemic many of us turned to art in the form of television, film and music. Art is everywhere around us — from the design of our homes, clothing and coffee cups to the music on our playlists. Creativity helps us solve problems, learn new skills and understand and empathize with people whose experiences and cultures are different from our own.

Whether your student is an artist, an arts enthusiast or is just taking notice of the arts, encourage their participation and their appreciation. When they see art around them, their appreciation and social awareness grows, and they become more empathetic and more well-rounded.

We are truly fortunate to have two robust Arts Festivals: Focus on the Arts at HPHS, which has a 60 year tradition, and the newly formed Arts Alive! at DHS, which launches in April. To learn more and to get involved with either festival, email

All of art is a search for ways of being, of living life more fully — August Wilson

Tamara Jenkins
Director of Arts Festivals
Township High School District 113