Modern Day K–Making the Arts More Accessible

The arts are worthwhile, but it hasn’t always been easy for people to experience the arts, especially if they didn’t have a lot of disposable income to spend. And to participate in the arts hasn’t always been affordable either. Paying for dance lessons or music lessons or the various accessories that go with each artistic endeavor have, historically, kept too many people out of the exploration of talents, and even dreams.

Even now, not all artistic enterprises are inexpensive, but arts organizations have been trying to bring cultural events beyond just a small elite group of people. Arts are, truly, for everyone and income should have never been a barrier.

Depending on where you live, you may have noticed that local theater organizations are staging free stripped down performances in local neighborhood parks. Orchestras are also visiting neighborhood senior centers and performing for live audiences. More and more visual art museums are offering once a week or once a month free days for the community to encourage anyone and everyone to come immerse themselves in paintings, drawings, or sculpture.

More arts organizations are streaming performances or using smart phone technology to make access to cultural programs and appreciation more democratic. Arts organizations have also been working to make the performances and exhibits more accessible to children through pay-share programs and the use of foundational grants.

An appreciation, celebration, and exploration of the arts are central to our enjoyment of life. This is something we were all reminded of during COVID. Many of us found a way to escape from stress by watching movies, binging new shows on Netflix, writing, reading books and listening to music. People discovered, or rediscovered, arts and crafts–whether it was crochet, knitting, painting, or pottery.  Some people found their reprieve from worry through dancing or singing or both.

Through the Modern-Day K book series, author Deedee Cummings has found a way to promote the arts and help young children find their artistic passions. Her inspiration came from watching her own daughter, Kayla, discover her  passion for dance and musical theater and witnessing firsthand the therapeutic impact this had on her life. Deedee hopes to encourage other parents to foster, nurture, and support artistic passions within their own children. Modern-Day K is a set of stories any child who loves dancing, singing, or performing can relate to, but especially young Black artists who have desperately lacked the ability to see themselves on stage and in films, television and books. Ironically, Deedee wrote and published the entire series during the pandemic. Deedee believes that families of all backgrounds will see themselves reflected in this series and hopes to spark conversations between parents and children about following their passion and supporting dreams even when children want to do something that scares parents- like pursue a career in theater.

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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