This is the question that Perkins’ staff has been carefully evaluating for the last five years.
Why do we do the work we do?
What is the “why” behind programs and projects?
Why does Perkins strive to provide exemplary arts programming?
Why do Perkins’ efforts amplify the voices of the communities we serve?
Why does Perkins focus on the diversity of programming, artists with whom we work, and opportunities for engagement?
The answer: The Arts are essential to the well-being of our communities.
In 2020, as Perkins evolved its mission, we carefully examined the purpose of arts education, arts engagement, and arts experiences. “Perkins enriches lives, inspires lifelong learning, and cultivates intercultural experiences through the Arts.” Listening to the communities of the region we’ve served for more than four decades, common needs and themes emerged, emphasizing the importance of establishing and maintaining connections and community. These insights influenced the creation of Perkins’ new logo, the development of strategic plans, and the evolution of our programming. What we recognized was that effective arts programs support the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of specific individuals, collectives of individuals, and the intersection of individuals within the community.
Engaging in the arts for just 20 minutes daily positively impacts physical and mental well-being. Stress hormone levels decrease, immune functions increase, and markers of mental and physical health improve. Arts practice can enhance cognitive and motor functions, increase neuroplasticity, release dopamine and norepinephrine, activate synapses, and ultimately improve cognition, promote acceptance, and encourage healing. The Arts actively reshape brain function and have the capacity to address multiple elements of mental and physical illness simultaneously, not just individual symptoms.
The Arts have the power to change us, and to change our communities. The Arts create, and reinforce the benefit of trial and error, failure and resiliency, collaboration, and connection, and most importantly, the Arts support the development of community. The Arts repair and restore us as individuals and as the collective of humans that coexist. The Arts restore and elevate our humanity and help us to identify those common threads that weave us all together. “Artscreates culture. Culture creates community. Community creates humanity.” (Your Brain on Art, p.202).
What significance does this hold for Perkins, and WHY does Perkins provide the following annually:
Delivering over 350 visual arts classes and workshops annually
Conducting more than 700 music lessons and recitals
Implementing over 12 in-school residency programs
Extending our impact throughout the eight counties of South Jersey
Showcasing over 18 exhibitions each year
Nurturing collaborations with more than 400 visual, performing, and folk artists
Hosting more than 30 free concerts and programs annually
Serving a diverse community of over 42,000 individuals (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) each year
Award over 40 scholarships annually to both youth and adults, while also offering complimentary programming tailored for individuals with disabilities, veterans, and our aging communities
Because…Perkins is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of communities through the Arts, recognizing the transformative power of artistic expression to enrich lives and build vibrant communities.
Simply said, YOU are our WHY.
Perkins Programs thrive with the generous support of patrons like you.
Your contribution makes a significant impact.
Click here to make a difference today.