On Tuesday, May 15, First Stage’s Rob Goodman joined a panel of a few of his fellow arts leaders to speak at the American Marketing Association’s May luncheon, to discuss “Arts Education and the Emotional Intelligence of Children: The Positive Effects of the Arts on Our Community’s Children.” Other speakers sharing the podium were Deanna Tillisch, President and CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF); Fran Richman, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), and Deborah Farris, Executive Director of Danceworks. Each of these groups was among seven arts groups that participated in a 2010 study by Reinders Research, in partnership with the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, which examined the impact of arts education on emotional intelligence (EQ), particularly among underserved students.
The 2010 study was modeled after research First Stage was already conducting. According to UPAF’s summary of the study presented at this meeting, the study included a sample of 547 students – 101 involved in First Stage programming – from 23 Milwaukee Public Schools and charter schools. The sample was representative of Milwaukee area children who are economically disadvantaged, the ethnic makeup reflected the service populations of participating organizations and the age range was from 6-18+ (children ages 9-11 were the largest group).