The Right Brain Initiative


Trail Blazers legend Jerome Kersey endorses arts education!

December 30th, 2013 by Right Brain Team

“A lot of kids are brought out through the arts and through music….
They discover talents they never knew they had.”


We’ll admit it, most us at The Right Brain Initiative are essentially PE class-rejects and art nerds, but we’re Portlanders first and foremost. So, when it comes to the Trail Blazers (particularly when they’re on top!) we get wrapped up in basketball fever, just like everyone else. That’s why we’re particularly proud to share this video, featuring one of our favorite players from Blazers history as he advocates for the power of the arts in schools. We watched Jerome Kersey score when the Blazers played the NBA Finals in the early ’90s. But did you also know that he’s a great advocate of the arts?

A former trombone player in school, Kersey understands that arts education is not as much about breeding a new generation of artists as it is about helping kids discover their passions and strengths. It’s about helping them learn to think well and to learn what they’re curious about. When the arts are integrated with other subjects, they can help students make new connections, allowing those who typically don’t feel successful in the classroom to see themselves as smart and capable. In our new video, he spouts gems like:

“When you start taking these studies out of school—drawing, painting, or playing an instrument—kids that don’t learn the way other kids do, you take away that room for them to grow.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

This video, like most everything we produce, is first meant to be useful to anyone who advocates for the presence of the arts in schools. But, let us be clear, this video is also a direct call-to-action for folks to contribute to the final days of our Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign. We’ve raised just past $11,000 now and need to raise an additional $2,000 by 11:59pm tomorrow to make our goal. 

If, like Jerome Kersey, you believe in the power of the arts to turn children into confident thinkers and doers, please contribute to our campaign. With your donation, you’ll be entered to win a pair of Club Level tickets to see the Blazers beat Denver (heh) on January 23 (these tickets include wristbands that entitle you to free concessions and buffets). You’ll also receive a free scoop of ice-cream from our friends at Ruby Jewel


For those who donate to any non-profit featured in the Give!Guide, the Willamette Week provides you with a really sweet set of incentives from Stumptown Coffee, Widmer Beer and much more. AND anyone who donates before midnight tomorrow will be entered to win one of five packages, in which you and 10 of your friends will be treated to Kiehl’s skincare and champagne at a local Kiehl’s location.

$10 is the minimum gift, so what are you waiting for? Support our vision of bringing the arts to every child in the region, and take something for yourself, too. 

PS: This is the second in our series of four videos featuring arts education advocates from different sectors of the community. Watch the first video, featuring  former Gresham Police Chief Carla Piluso, and stay tuned for the rest! 


Right Brain Team