Public school students to benefit from Any Given Child model

Public school students to benefit from Any Given Child model

Despite admirable efforts by the more than 60 arts organizations in Jacksonville, the sad fact remains that 29 percent of Duval County Public School classrooms at the K-8 level in 60 schools still have no contact at all with any arts organization, according to a report from the Jacksonville chapter of Any Given Child.

To rectify that cultural injustice, Any Given Child is working with local arts organizations, the mayor’s office, the school district and civic and business leaders to create a long-range, sustainable plan to provide greater, more equitable access to quality arts education for all K-8 students in Duval County public schools.

A survey undertaken earlier this year by a Community Arts Team revealed that during the 2013-2014 academic year, 665 programs were offered by over 40 arts organizations, including 347 field trips, 83 in-school performances, 75 afterschool performances, 68 in-museum workshops, 34 special needs tours, 11 teacher offsite workshops, seven administrator trainings, and six in-school teacher workshops.

With the support of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and working under the Cathedral Arts Project, Allison Galloway, executive director of Any Given Child, announced the launch of a multi-year program that will open access to the arts for children in public schools.

Galloway, a Riverside resident, will work with a 39-member committee of people from private businesses, corporations, cultural organizations in Jacksonville to initiate, supervise and support action steps in advocacy, program creation, professional development, collaboration, fundraising and evaluation.

Art Walk-Cathedral Arts Project“Most cultural organizations in Jacksonville already have a fantastic arts education program, but they are doing a marvelous job…in a silo,” said Galloway. “We will be trying to make sure the entire community is funneled toward this effort, to get cultural organizations to put art in schools into their budgets.”

Another Riverside resident, Trey Csar, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, is a member of the steering committee that spent the past year completing the strategic planning phase.

“It’s exciting to see the effort really take hold to unify all the arts education we have in the city and to identify ways to expand it and make sure that more kids are served,” said Csar. “It takes a unified public message about the importance of art education to the young people. The provision of arts education in Duval County elementary schools has moved light years over the last two years.”

Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child is a Collective Impact model originating at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2013, an application by the Cathedral Arts Project, Duval County Public Schools and the City of Jacksonville resulted in being accepted as the 14th site to host this community-wide initiative.

Darrell Ayers, vice president of education at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., noted: “It’s quite remarkable what’s happened here; you don’t immediately think of Jacksonville when you talk about arts and culture in Florida. It doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s just that everything has aligned and come together and it’s exciting for the young people here.”

Ayers was in Jacksonville in August 2013 when the chapter was introduced at Central Riverside Elementary School and returned last month for the program launch.

“Over the last 15 months it’s been wonderful to see the results of what’s happening here,” Ayers said. “The Kennedy Center can’t be everywhere but we can shine the spotlight on communities that are successful and showing some results.”

In addition to Csar, the steering committee consists of Tony Allegretti, Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville; Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University; Daniel Davis, President & CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; Steve Halverson, President & CEO of the Haskell Company; Kimberly Hyatt, President & CEO of the Cathedral Arts Project; Hope McMath, Museum Director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens; Audrey Moran, Senior VP for Social Responsibility and Community Advocacy at Baptist Health; Madeline Scales-Taylor, Board of Trustees, Community Foundation of Northeast Florida; Darnell Smith, Market President of North Florida for Florida Blue and Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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