National Arts & Humanities Month

13 October 2017
Painted handprints against black background

October is National Arts and Humanities Month— a month-long recognition of the important role arts and culture both play in our communities. At the Y, we believe engagement in the arts and humanities is an essential part of youth development that encourages self-expression, creativity, and cultural awareness.

According to PBS, participating in the arts benefits the development of motor skills, language, decision-making, visual learning, and inventiveness. Furthermore, numerous studies reviewed by Americans for the Arts link participation in the arts to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates.

The creative arts make an exponential impact in under-served communities. The "Social Impact of the Arts Project", conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, in collaboration with The New York Community Trust and the Surdna Foundation, confirmed the important role cultural arts play in shaping vibrant, healthy communities. Among lower-income neighborhoods in New York’s five boroughs, cultural resources like creative non-profits, artists, book stores, entertainment venues, and access to the arts, were “significantly linked to better health, schooling, and security.” Specifically, the presence of cultural resources was associated with a 14% decrease in cases of child abuse and neglect, a 5% decrease in childhood obesity, and an 18% improvement in performance on English and math tests.

The Y on Granby, located in the Park Place community of Norfolk, offers creative arts programming year-round as part of the Y’s larger effort to close the achievement gap, improve the academic performance of youth, and inspire children to learn, grow, and thrive. This fall, with support from the Joshua P. and Elizabeth D. Darden Foundation, The Y on Granby is offering Arts and Humanities programs for children ages 2 to 13. Classes include age-appropriate activities such as drawing, painting, mixed media, cartooning, mural painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, and computer art and animation. Through art, youth learn positive forms of self-expression and identity in the face of mounting social pressures. To learn more about The Y on Granby’s Arts and Humanities program, contact Executive Director Khalilah Harrison at or (757) 965-2322.