Schools in 14 cities work to expand arts education

Friday, February 14, 2014

In an effort to expand arts education for all K8 students, 14 cities and school districts have now joined a program linking local arts groups with nearby schools to improve programs amid strained budgets.

School and arts leaders from Sacramento, Calif., to Baltimore met Wednesday near Washington to compare notes on what's working in the initiative run by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The "Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child" program began with Sacramento in 2009, and officials said it has quickly expanded to now reach 1 million students this year.

When Sacramento launched the effort in the midst of the Great Recession, the city's elementary schools had almost no arts teachers left, said Erika Kraft of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. Only 17 percent of students had any exposure to the arts in school. Now all 35,000 students attend a live performance every year, and the city is looking to expand pilot projects with teaching artists and arts integration with other subjects.

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