The Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture plans to meet with members of the incoming 18th Legislature to discuss ways of promoting the artistic and cultural segment of the community.
Council director Angel S. Hocog said yesterday that they would ask for a meeting with the newly elected lawmakers after their oath-taking this month.
While the council is doing its best to carry out its mandate, Hocog said it still needs the support of the local government through legislative actions and additional funding.
He said that many of the incoming lawmakers, during last year's campaign period, pledged their support to the council once elected.
“We hope that they stick to their promise because they themselves see the importance of arts and culture of the islands,” Hocog told Saipan Tribune.
He noted how other states and territories across the nation list arts and culture among their priorities, unlike in the Northern Marianas where it seems elected leaders disregard the need to promote and expand council activities and events.
Hocog said that among the points to be discussed during the meeting would be appropriation for the upcoming 32nd Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival in April.
He said the council's reinstated ability to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts will help address their financial challenges.
According to Hocog, they are waiting for NEA's decision on their grant application for fiscal year 2013, which would be announced in the next few months.
Arts in education coordinator Parker Y. Yobei, for his part, said the council intends to make its priority arts in education among the island's youth.
Yobei said arts in education has proven to open the minds of students, bringing out their creativity and even enhancing learning in other subject areas.
“They do much better in school if we integrate arts in their curriculum,” he said.
Yobei disclosed plans to bring back arts in education through after-school classes, particularly during summer and other holidays.
In relation to this, Yobei revealed plans to work with the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning by bringing to the island Dr. Lori Phillips.
Phillips is PREL's director of the Pacific Center for Arts and Humanities in Education and offers professional development and standards-based curriculum planning in the arts and humanities.
Yobei said that Phillips can provide workshops that would train teachers about arts education methods for young learners.