By now, the concept of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in education is fairly well-known. However, efforts are being made to add another facet of education that has often been neglected.
On Friday night, The Phillips Collection held its annual gala to fund educational efforts in the arts. Gala Host Kay Kapoor spoke about STEAM being the new goal instead of STEM, with the letter A standing for Art. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, who represents the state of Oregon in Congress, described “art as a way to bridge cultures.”
For Rep. Bonamici, keeping arts in schools is an important issue. She said that when she worked in two congressional committees, she asked herself “Why isn’t anybody talking about arts education?”
The evening wasn’t only about the arts, but also about the relationship between The Phillips Collection and the embassy of Qatar. Qatari Ambassador Mohammed Jaham Al Kuwari quoted the late former president John F. Kennedy as having said “Society must set the artist free.” The Ambassador also said “Art is about sharing human universal values.” While it is true that the relationship with The Phillips Collection is an opportunity to share Qatari national art, he hopes that Qatar will extend beyond its borders.
Support for the inclusion of the arts in education is fairly strong. Funding for such education reached one million dollars, but attendees were encouraged to continue donating for this educational cause.
Other notable attendees included NPR’s Diane Rehm, Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith, and members of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation.