Throughout the 1980’s, numerous reports, research papers and provincial reviews expressed concerns about the state of arts education in Ontario. In 1987, Trustee Majorie Loughery of the Ottawa Board of Education (OBE) brought forward a motion to the Board to create an Advisory Committee on the Arts. The specific purpose of the committee, which would report to the Board, was to develop a formal arts policy and to provide a liaison between the Board, local arts groups, and other jurisdictions.
By 1991, the Ontario Ministry of Education had recognized the need for such groups, making an official recommendation that the province’s school boards should have arts advisory committees to help shape policies and programs. Over the years, the ACA has had many achievements, including the following:
- development of proposed OBE arts education policy;
- creation of a training program for arts teachers at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, with a $75,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education
- organization of Arts Awareness Day and Arts Awareness Week
- lobbying City of Ottawa to provide grants to artists for their work in schools
- successfully advocating for a new position for a Board arts consultant (now two Arts Instructional Coaches)
While much has changed over the past twenty years, the core values of the Committee remain the same.
Brief Bio of Marjorie Loughrey
Marjorie Loughrey was a dedicated trustee and former Chair at the Ottawa Board of Education.
She was often called the Guardian Angel for the Arts, both at the local educational level, as well as at the municipal level. She believed that an education in the arts was fundamental to the emotional, intellectual and social development of each child.
As an OBE trustee, she spearheaded the development of the Arts Canterbury Program and was the driving force behind the creation of the Advisory Committee on the Arts in 1987. Before she passed away on October 12, 2005, the ML Endowment Fund was created to honour her by promoting the arts in elementary schools.