[Editor's note: Josh Groban brings new Broadway classics album Stages to Old National Centre on Wednesday. In between recording and touring, Groban runs Find Your Light Foundation, which assists art education programs through financial support, among other ways. We asked him to comment on the importance of this work.]
"Going to an art school was the most freeing experience I could have ever asked for. I was one of the lucky ones, admittedly. I came from a home that had two parents that understood the importance of arts and the importance of exposure to the arts and education. I did have that, that surrounding support and exposure. That allowed me to have the bug early on. I had great teachers that really, really helped me out. As I've seen throughout the course of my career as I've traveled around the country, the majority of kids out there don't have those opportunities, either because they were right in front of them and now they're being cut, or that they're not in an environment either at home or geographically that allow them those opportunities. And I've seen how they changes lives.
It's obvious how it changed my life. I went into the business and became a successful singer. But it changes lives in the most amazing ways, in the ways that aren't always heralded. And so it gives kids a form of communication very early on that affects everything, from their grades in math and sciences, to their confidence levels, to their home life. It affects their relationships with their families. Schools that incorporate the arts – my foundation Find Your Light has teamed up with Michelle Obama's Turn Around Arts to literally slip struggling schools into success stories based on the immersion of arts education. It's tangible. It's there. When you walk in, you can see it. You can see kids that were on the verge of being expelled suddenly raising their hands to become class leaders, all because they had a chance to immerse themselves in music, in poetry, in arts. It's all part of it.
As programs are slipping through the cracks, my foundation is trying to find those teachers that need the help, those programs that are being cut, those schools that are on the verge of losing great teachers to paintbrushes, and try to help. Because a little bit can go a long way when it comes to art supplies and instruments and things like that. But it is an opportunity issue. For me to have been able to have those opportunities growing up, it has been my greatest pleasure to ... give that to other kids."