Kerry Washington is no stranger to Washington, D.C. On ABC’s “Scandal,” she deals with the dark and dramatic side of the nation’s capital. But in real life, she is a proud member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, seeing impressive results in her work as an arts ambassador to poverty-stricken schools.
After President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, he started issuing invitations to the committee, comprising both public and private individuals. Members are appointed for the term of the administration, and focus on one of three core areas: arts and humanities education; cultural exchange; and creative economy.
Washington says she is particularly hands-on with the education segment, along with fellow members Forest Whitaker and Alfre Woodard. That area focuses on schools in poverty-stricken areas that can benefit from an arts ambassador. Washington was assigned to Savoy Elementary School in D.C., and visited the school in May with Michelle Obama.
The actress proclaims that arts education can unlock many school problems in challenging communities. She has witnessed this first-hand at Savoy, where the introduction of arts programming has already had an effect on raising math and reading scores as well as positively affecting enrollment, attendance and parental involvement. “From a young age, the arts allow you a window into a world other than your own,” the thesp says.
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities An advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues, with core areas of focus on arts and humanities education, cultural exchange and creative economy (pcah.gov).