National PTAArt prodigy Autumn de Forest, 14, is not a certified teacher, but when she guides her peers through art lessons with Turnaround Arts, she knows they are on the right path.

“One of my favorite parts is when they say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that you could spray paint on a painting. I didn’t know that you could put your face on a canvas,’” said Autumn. “And it just makes me feel like I’ve shown them not only something new and something interesting, but I’ve introduced them into a whole other part of the world.”

The Park West Foundation, founded by Park West Gallery CEO and Founder Albert Scaglione and his wife, Mitsie, is pleased to support local and national programming that recognizes the importance of a well-rounded education during National Arts in Education Week.

Observed Sept. 11-17, National Arts in Education Week recognizes the positive impact the arts have on developing a student’s education. The arts are essential to a complete education, so efforts to promote them and reduce any cutbacks to artistic curricula are vital.

As part of its support of National Arts in Education Week and a well-rounded education, the foundation is working with National PTA through its Reflections® arts in education program, which kicks off during this national arts celebration. The program encourages students in all grades to explore the arts in an educational way in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

“We are delighted to acknowledge the amazing efforts of National PTA and thrilled to support such an impactful program as the Reflections arts in education program,” said Diane Pandolfi, director of the Park West Foundation.

In addition to working with National PTA, the Park West Foundation emphasizes art awareness and education by sponsoring museum exhibitions around the country and through the Turnaround Arts program with Autumn, bringing art into low-performing schools like Barton Elementary in California.

“If [students] can use art and painting as a mnemonic device for [learning], I think it’s just fantastic,” Autumn says. “They keep track on the schools and the grades, and they just skyrocket, whether it’s arts or dancing or music.”

Janice Gordon-Ellis, principal at Barton Elementary, spoke about the benefits of having Turnaround Arts in her school in the T Brand Studios story.

“We are moving forward, raising the scores of students here,” said Gordon-Ellis. “Attendance has been great with the students, especially when they’re performing, because they know that they want to be here on time to perform with their peers, and the parent involvement has been even better.”

National Arts in Education Week was established in 2010 by Congress thanks to House Resolution 275. The resolution aims to emphasize the importance of the arts to elected officials and educational decision-makers.

The Park West Foundation supports art education and awareness as well as providing resources to foster care youthenvironmental conservation and bettering the lives of others with programs such as Prince’s Trust International.