Arts Council Launches National Partnership with Kennedy Center at Start with Art

Arts Council Launches National Partnership with Kennedy Center at Start with Art On September 4, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Indianapolis, Indiana as the 18th site for Any Given Child, a program…

Arts Council Launches National Partnership with Kennedy Center at Start with Art
On September 4, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Indianapolis, Indiana as the 18th site for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program is led by the Arts Council of Indianapolis in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools, the Office of the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, and facilitated by the Kennedy Center. The announcement was made on September 4 before an audience of 1,000 local arts and business leaders at the Arts Council’s Start with Art luncheon.

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About Any Given Child
Any Given Child seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each student’s arts education, using an affordable model that combines the existing resources of Indianapolis Public Schools, the Arts Council of Indianapolis including local arts and community organizations, and the Kennedy Center. With the assistance of expert consultation services provided by Kennedy Center staff and other professionals, community leaders will develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for the school district and community of Indianapolis.

“In the City of Indianapolis, education–including arts education–is viewed as a foundation for creating opportunities and strengthening our community. With the support of the Arts Council and Indianapolis Public Schools, the Any Given Child program will transform the lives of Indianapolis youth through the power of the arts,” said Mayor Gregory A. Ballard.

By working with other local arts organizations and using existing resources, the program aims to minimize administrative overhead, thus remaining affordable. The Kennedy Center covers the majority of the cost and requires sites to contribute $25,000 toward the first four years of the program. For Indianapolis, this funding came in the form of $30,000 from generous individual contributions through United Way of Central Indiana. The first phase of the program consists of a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment facilitated by Kennedy Center staff and consultants. A review of the community and the school system will reveal what arts education resources currently exist and where opportunities for improvement exist. Based on this information, an assembled team of civic, community, and philanthropic leaders will create a plan to bring more access to arts education for all K-8 students. The audit process will begin in October and takes approximately nine months.

“The Any Given Child program is a perfect opportunity for those of us in the arts community in Indianapolis to affect positive and lasting change in the arts in the Indianapolis Public School system,” said Dave Lawrence, President & CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. “The Arts Council board and staff stand ready to lead the rest of the arts community in transforming arts education in our largest school system in Marion County.”

During phase two of the program, a committee of community members makes recommendations to the school district and local arts groups on how to best implement the recently created plan, focusing on increasing arts opportunities for K-8 students. In addition, educators and artists can take advantage of a wealth of resources available from the Kennedy Center, such as supplemental lessons with online interactive learning modules and videos available on the Kennedy Center website, and professional development for teachers and teaching artists. The goal of this second phase is to provide a tapestry of arts education, strategically weaving together existing arts resources within the schools with those available from community providers and the Kennedy Center in order to reach every child.

Since the program’s inception, Any Given Child sites have reported numerous successes: some school districts have hired additional teachers or added staff positions; new sources of funding for arts education have been established; communities have expanded arts offerings for students; and sites have provided professional learning for classroom teachers, arts specialists, and local arts organizations to build their capacity to deliver high quality arts education to students.