* The opinions expressed in materials on this website are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office of Research & Analysis or the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in these materials and is not responsible for any consequences of its use. This NEA Research Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (Award #: 1879148-38-C-21).
Who has the right to create? Who has the right to imagine?
Across centuries, individuals from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds have drawn upon creativity, imagination, invention, and artistic skill as sources of resilience, healing, connection, growth, and social change. Opportunities to cultivate these skills, however, are not always shared or protected; poverty and systemic racism create opportunity gaps in children’s access to the arts and creative experiences.
At the Research on Equity via the Arts in Childhood (REACH) Lab, we partner with community organizations that promote equity in access to arts and creative experiences to study their impact on children and families facing stress and trauma related to poverty and racism. We are committed to building on individual and community strengths and to examining what could happen if children and families were provided with culturally relevant and supportive opportunities for experiencing, engaging, imagining, inventing, and originating. We are beginning our inquiry into this question with an in-depth set of studies focused on music.
The work of the REACH lab is a result of a cooperative award from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Research Labs program.
On March 23, Arts for Learning Maryland (formerly Young Audiences of Maryland) announces that it has been awarded a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to demonstrate arts-integrated school programs that improve academic performance and emotional well-being of students in low-wealth schools. REACH Investigators will co-lead all aspects of the evaluation, including recruitment, assignment, data collection, analysis, reporting, and dissemination to research audiences. Learn more on WolfBrown’s website.
On April 22, REACH grad student Suzanne Varnell presented her thesis titled, "Visual arts activities relate to cortisol and observed interest for preschool children". Suzanne expects to graduate from the WCU Psych MS program in May and will be headed to the Psychological Sciences PhD Program at Purdue University in August.
On April 29, REACH team members participated in WCU's Research and Creative Activities Day and presented the following:
- Brown, E.D., Varnell, S., Holochwost, S.J., Wolf, D.P., Garnett, M.L., Velazquez-Martin, B., Allen, A., Malatesta, J. (April, 2022). Visual arts activities relate to cortisol and observed interest for preschool children.
- Brown, E.D., Holochwost, S.J., Wolf, D.P., Garnett, M.L., Velazquez-Martin, B., Varnell, S., Allen, A., Malatesta, J., Blumenthal, M.A., & Tettey, E. (April, 2022). Creative arts and child stress regulation: Should teachers guide or get out of the way?
- Brown, E.D., Holochwost, S.J., Wolf, D.P., Garnett, M.L., Velazquez-Martin, B., Varnell, S., Allen, A., Malatesta, J., & Hennessey, K. (April, 2022). Cortisol relates to emotion expression for young children facing economic hardship.