Jacksonville chosen as partner city for Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program

Jacksonville chosen as partner city for  Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program

Representatives from the City of Jacksonville, Duval County Public Schools and the Cathedral Arts Project welcomed Darrell Ayers, vice president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to Central Riverside Elementary School on Aug. 22.

Ayers announced that Jacksonville was chosen as the 14th Partner City nationwide for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for public schools through Grade 8.


Darrell Ayers, vice president, Kennedy Center; the Rev. Kimberly Hyatt, executive director, Cathedral Arts Project; Paula Wright, Duval County School Board, District 4: Becki Couch, Duval County School Board, District 6,
Mayor Alvin Brown; David Kammerman, director of institutional giving, Cathedral Arts Project, and Marla
Matson-Quattrone, director of development and communications, Cathedral Arts Project

“The partnership with the Kennedy Center for Any Given Child represents a tremendous honor for the Cathedral Arts Project and our entire community,” Mayor Alvin Brown said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to enhance and celebrate the dynamic contributions of artistic and cultural activities, and enhance arts education in our city.”

Ayers, who has ties to Jacksonville through his high school and college years and who met his wife here, said “It wasn’t a difficult decision for us…to select Jacksonville, FL as the 14th city to as part of the Center’s Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child.”

Jacksonville joins 13 other communities, including Sarasota, FL, in the program. “We felt there would be a great success here. First, we got a terrific application from the Cathedral Arts Project, thanks to Kimberly Hyatt,” Ayers continued. “Also, when we had our meetings with the mayor, we said one of the things we wanted to do is help the community take its resources to the next level and I found out that this was one of the big things the mayor’s always talked about…to build on the success that already exists here in the Jacksonville area.”

“This is great news for our schools and our city,” said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. “The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative is directly aligned to our strategic plan focus area of developing the whole child, and provides our community an incredible opportunity to advance our work of enriching and improving the lives and educational outcomes of Jacksonville’s children.”

“We’ve been impressed with the enthusiasm [for the arts] here,” concluded Ayers. “It just made perfect sense for the Kennedy Center to be part of the work that’s going on here in Jacksonville.”

The program will incorporate existing resources of the Duval County Public Schools, along with those of local arts organizations, such as the Cathedral Arts Project, and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the city.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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