Foundation for Edmonds School District launches ‘Save the Arts’ campaign

Actress Anna Faris, shown when she was 11 years old. Faris, who has had a long acting career in TV and movies, started her drama career at Seaview Elementary in Edmonds. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Jack Faris)

The Foundation for Edmonds School District announced Tuesday the creation of a $2.25 million Save the Arts Campaign to help protect arts programs in the district.

“Every child deserves the joy of making music, the thrill of being on stage, and the pride of creating an art piece,” a news release about the campaign stated. “The arts create a sense of community and belonging that is integral to the well-being and health of all children, giving a voice to their experiences, providing a safe space, and a sense of purpose as they build real-world skills that will help them thrive, now and into the future.”

The campaign aims to ensure that all 20,800 children in the Edmonds School district, including 7,000 children receiving free and reduced meals and those who speak 134 different languages, can have universal access to arts education, regardless of their background or circumstances.

The district’s award-winning music, art, and drama programs are facing unprecedented threats due to budget cuts resulting from inadequate state funding. Support is urgently needed to ensure that every child in the district has access to the arts.

“Without immediate action, these vital programs are at risk of being dismantled, depriving students of essential experiences that foster creativity, confidence, and critical thinking skills,” the news release said.

Arts create a sense of belonging, foster confidence, and provide a safe space for children. (Photo courtesy of Foundation for Edmonds School District)

“Arts and music programs deserve our generous support,” said community leader Jack Faris. “Our son and daughter were exposed to art history, drama, and a joyful music program at Seaview Elementary in Edmonds.

“Every once in a while you get a concert pianist, a movie star, or a successful painter. But far more important, you get countless children who learn to appreciate and make art, who discover how music can transport, and who learn self-confidence through their performances in plays, dance recitals, choirs, etc.”

The foundation aims to raise $1.5 million in pledges by May 15, with funds received by July 31 to fund arts programs for the 2024-25 school year and an additional $750,000 to be received by March 31, 2025, for arts programs in the 2025-26 school year. The funds would sustain current programs in music and visual and performing arts throughout the district.

At the same time, the foundation is building the $10 million DeMiero Family Endowment for the Visual and Performing Arts for long-term sustainability.

“The foundation is committed to ensuring that every student has access to a well-rounded education that includes the arts,” said Deborah Brandi, foundation executive director. “The arts are more than just programs — they are essential to celebrating diverse perspectives, fostering empathy and inclusivity, and creating a stronger, better community.”

For more information and to donate, visit this site.

  1. You guys should grab the book “your brain on art” and use that research to help with your case! Theres real science behind the benefits that art can have on learning and social/mental health

    1. Edmonds Elementary has had the S.T.A.R.S. Foundation ( Supporting the Teaching of Arts, Reading, and Science) for decades. They fund classroom enrichment grants, field trips, books for the library, student created art installations around the school and science & Art Expos. Their annual auction is this weekend at the Cascadia Art Museum. It’s a great story, you should stop by!

  2. For some kids, the music (or theatre or arts) program is the only reason they look forward to coming to school. It can also be an escape from an unhappy, or even abusive, home life. In addition to the cognitive, academic, and social benefits, the psychological benefits are immeasurable! (Speaking from experience on this one.)

  3. Yet again our elected officials fail to do what the public knows is best. Stop putting your faith in the political status quo!

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