Any Given Child Background
That every given child has access to quality arts education.
Mobilize community resources to expand arts education within participating K-8 schools in Sacramento to strengthen student skills of creativity and innovation and heighten the appreciation of the role, virtue and experiences of arts education for students.
In 2009 Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Michael Kaiser, President of the J.F.Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. announced a new effort to strengthen arts education. Sacramento was selected as the pilot site for the Kennedy Center's new initiative - Any Given Child - which provided tools for assessing the quality and scope of arts education in a community and guidance and training to develop programs to address identified gaps in services.
Johnson and Kaiser were strong advocates for arts education - reminding us that the arts not only help students learn other subject matter and stay motivated to attend school, but that arts and creative habits of mind are critical elements that help prepare students to join the 21st century workforce. The music, visual arts, dance and theatre experiences that a student has in school helps a student build confidence, make connections, and take initiative in learning. These experiences also help students learn how to appreciate the arts, leading them to becoming active audiences and advocates and providing opportunities for self-expression and civic engagement.
The arts matter - in education and in community life. But arts education and arts classes are often the first things cut when school budgets are tight. Community arts organizations can only do so much in supplementing what schools are offerring - by bringing artists into classrooms, underwriting field trips and creating partnerships with schools. The current challenge in schools across the country is to find creative ways to keep the arts alive for students, support direct arts instruction, maximize use of community arts resources and help teachers integrate the arts into other teaching strategies.
The Kennedy Center Community Assessment of programs in Sacramento confirmed that schools want arts programs, but most schools don't currently have arts programs. In response Mayor Johnson appointed local school and arts leaders to a Council to develop and pilot programs that would use Kennedy Center and local resources to bring arts back to students.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission stepped up to coordinate selection, support and deployment of artists and arts organizations to provide programming in K-8 schools in Twin Rivers and Sac City Unified School Districts Funds from the districts and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation supported the pilot year programs. Spokesperson Milton Bowens provided special assemblies to demonstrate the life of the artist, 8 artists presented residencies, and 10 arts organizations shared programs on campuses and at their facilities
The results were dramatic. Over 37,000 students participated in 89 classrooms. Teachers, students, arts educators and arts organizations praised the program as a new way to reach more students, and connect with the schools that traditionally were least active in bringing community arts onto their campuses. Teachers described students in new ways - finding some of the most challenging students to be eager and proud when they worked through the arts to learn concepts in other subjects. The arts educators learned new ways to work with kids, and teachers learned arts techniques that helped them bring core concepts to life.
An evaluation of pilot year efforts identified strengths and challenges. In 2011-2012 the Council has revised expanded reach and visibility, lengthened the arts residencies, and opened Kennedy Center training to a broader audience. The Council is creating a special fundraising event to ensure private support for expanding Any Given Child reach and resources.