Americans for the Arts mourns the loss of Carol Channing, a lifelong performer, patron, philanthropist, and advocate for arts education.
Ms. Channing, long known for being a larger-than-life Broadway star and recording artist, dedicated her post-performing career to advancing arts education alongside her husband Harry Kullijian, culminating in their advocacy effort to establish National Arts in Education Week in 2010.
Both Ms. Channing and Mr. Kullijian were involved in the arts from a young age. Harry led a small, contemporary music band while in school and Carol began writing music as part of her campaign for a student leadership position. Together, they often visited museums, read poetry, and sang together in the 1930’s. After re-connecting some 70 years later, they established a non-profit foundation to promote the inclusion of arts as a core curriculum in education. ChanningARTS (Arts Returned To Schools) encouraged people to become involved in their communities and local PTAs to return arts education to all public schools. Years later, their work emerged as the American Foundation for Arts Education.
In 2010, the United States Congress and Senate, inspired by the work of Ms. Channing and Mr. Kullijian, endorsed the vital need for arts education by unanimously passing House Concurrent Resolution 275 which designates the second week of September as “National Arts in Education Week.”
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Carol Channing not only for her years on the stage and screen entertaining us, but for using her passion as an artist and activist to ensure that our nation’s young people have a robust arts education as intended by our federal laws,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Ms. Channing’s arts education advocacy cements her legacy into the life of every child who learns through the arts in their homes, schools, and communities.”
In 2019, National Arts in Education Week will be celebrated from September 8-14. Americans for the Arts and more than 800 partners on the annual event are pleased to dedicate this year’s celebration in Ms. Channing’s honor.
Please learn more about the national celebration here and support our National Arts in Education Week efforts by donating here.