FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 Monday, October 25, 2010

Fund for the Arts and Jefferson County Public Schools Announce $400,000 Arts Education Initiative

 

New District-Wide School Arts Education 5×5 Program to Allow Every Child to Experience Five Arts/Cultural Experiences by Completion of Fifth Grade; Program Expected to Grow to $1 Million

 

Louisville, KY — Officials from the Fund for the Arts and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) today announced a $400,000 initiative that will have a significant impact on elementary arts education for students in the local school district. Allan Cowen, President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts, unveiled a new program called 5×5 which has a mission of providing five live arts experiences to elementary school students before they complete the fifth grade. The program is funded by Fund for the Arts community partners Chase and The Community Foundation of Louisville, with additional support from AT&T and Brown-Forman.  PNC also provides support through the Teacher Arts Grant Program.  The 5×5 program is part of the broader Fund for the Arts “Every Child” Arts Education Initiative, of which the Fund for the Arts hopes to grow support for the program to $1 million in future years.

The announcement was celebrated and recognized throughout the school district today with 50 elementary schools welcoming visiting artists from Fund for the Arts member groups including Louisville Orchestra musicians, Kentucky Shakespeare actors, Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft visual artists and Louisville Ballet dancers.

Cowen explained that the creation and launch of the 5×5 program is an acknowledgement of the Louisville community’s commitment to the arts. “Our goal is introduce students to a continuum of arts experiences from the time they start elementary school to the time they reach the fifth grade,” said Cowen. “As an example, we want students in the 1st grade to experience live theatre at a Stage One performance, in 2ndgrade to have an in-classroom workshop with dancers from the Louisville Ballet, and in 3rd grade to make masks with artists from the Louisville Visual Art Association. We want all students in JCPS to be exposed to as many art forms as possible as part of their elementary school education.”

The 5×5 program is kicking off  this Fall with 53 JCPS elementary schools participating. As a part of the program, the leadership team of the school puts together a plan that works toward a goal of all students in their school experiencing the arts in every year of the elementary education. The Fund for the Arts and its member groups offer supporting curriculum assistance once arts activities are selected.

Cowen also emphasized that the new 5×5 program would not be possible without community partners including Chase and the Community Foundation of Louisville. “One of Louisville’s best assets is a strong arts community. The 5×5 program provides elementary school students and their families annual exposure to the arts while building the next generation of arts patrons,” said Paul Costel, Chase Kentucky President.  “Chase is pleased to support programming focused on strengthening our city now and in the future.”

Susan Barry, President & CEO of The Community Foundation of Louisville, expressed her organization’s delight in supporting this program. “Our donors entrust us with their charitable dollars to make wise philanthropic investments in our community,” said Barry. “What better investment than a program that will enrich our children’s overall education through the power and creativity of the arts.”

The Fund for the Arts “Every Child” initiative is the Fund for the Arts approach to reaching every child in the Greater Louisville region through the arts. “This is a big, bold initiative for our community,” said Cowen. “This is the right thing to do. It’s good for our kids, good for our community and good for our arts!”

Other ongoing elements of the Fund for the Arts “Every Child” initiative include:

  • The PNC/Fund for the Arts Teacher Arts Grants, which are provided to JCPS middle and high schools as well as schools in the Bullitt, Shelby, and Oldham districts in Kentucky, West Clark and Greater Clark county schools in Indiana and the Louisville Archdiocese.
  • “Hear the Music” program, sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, for middle school students which includes an in-classroom session with a professional musician on how sounds affects everyone and how we all can promote hearing wellness in everyday life. Following a hearing screening, students will receive a certificate redeemable for a family pass to a Louisville Orchestra concert.
  • The Whittenberg Young Artist Scholarships, which are given to talented high school students to enable them to pursue advanced study or a professional career in the performing arts

The Fund for the Arts also recently launched a new website, making it easier for teachers to find activity offerings available from Fund for the Arts member groups. The Teacher’s Arts Portal atwww.fundforthearts.com allows teachers to find a field trip, apply for a grant, book an artist, download a curriculum guide and fill out an Arts Report Card in a simple and easy to use format. The new website and Teacher’s Arts Portal was funded with a grant from AT&T.

The news conference took place at Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School. At the news conference, Superintendant Sheldon Berman reiterated the importance of arts education to the JCPS mission. “Arts education is central to our core belief of preparing students to succeed in college, career and life,” said Berman. “We are incredibly honored that the Fund for the Arts has taken the lead in allowing our teachers an opportunity to work with Louisville’s professional arts organizations to bring the arts to the classroom.”

 

Fund for the Arts

Together through the ARTS we create a great American city. We grow revenue – earned and contributed. We lead innovation onstage and off. We create community connections. We empower dynamic collaborations. We promote impactful resource utilization.

 

The Fund for the Arts provides programming and administrative support to twenty-eight member groups and programs, including grants to community organizations and school districts throughout the Louisville, Kentucky region which serve more than 400,000 school children.  The Fund for the Arts is the oldest united arts fund in the country and has raised over $165 million in the community since its establishment in 1949. The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to the Fund for the Arts with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, call (502) 582-0100 or visit www.fundforthearts.com.

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