The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is starting a new program that could reinvent arts education for schools struggling with budget cuts and fewer art teachers, organizers said Friday.I don't see where the rest of the cash is coming from. (Half a mil doesn't go far these days.) But hey, it's a start.
The pilot "Any Given Child" project announced Friday for schools in Sacramento, Calif., could be expanded to as many as three cities each year, the center said. Under the strategy, the Kennedy Center will link local arts groups with schools to help teach students in grades K-8.
The groups will draft long-range plans specific to each city to ensure all students have access to music, theater and the visual arts. The Kennedy Center is devoting about $500,000 to begin the program and expects to keep costs low for local schools.
Most promising, to me, is the direct involvement of artists themselves doing some of the teaching:
The center said artistic groups could create specialized lessons to meet the needs of schools' curriculums. A local ballet company, for example, could teach third graders about movement while a local symphony works with fifth graders on music appreciation.Not only is it good for education, but it's programs like this that we'll need to keep the arts alive. Increasingly, it will have be as "teaching artists" that a lot of our artists make their livings.
Over the next few months, the Kennedy Center will conduct an audit of the local arts scene and existing arts programs in the Sacramento City Unified School District and Twin Rivers Unified School District. The audit will help map out an affordable way for school districts and local arts groups to provide arts education together.