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John M. Eger

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Arts For All

Posted: 07/01/11 11:42 AM ET

That says it.

"Arts for All" is the way the world ought to work, which is probably why Los Angeles picked that name when they started this award winning national program almost 10 years ago.

Their mission: "to restore standards-based arts education into the public school core curriculum."

Given California's budget woes, it is amazing that this program, starting as early as it did, survived. Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading arts advocacy organization, recently awarded the Arts Education Award to Arts for All June 16 at their annual convention, held in San Diego, CA.

According to the 50-year-old Washington-based nonprofit, the 2011 field of candidates was comprised of 18 nominations from around the country. It was, they said, the most competitive ever evaluated in the judging process. Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said that the Arts for All selection is all the more remarkable given California's budget crisis.

"Particularly at a time when school districts face increasingly dire fiscal circumstances," Lynch said, "Arts for All's steady commitment and support has kept arts education at the forefront of school and community leaders' consciousness in Los Angeles County."

In addition to Los Angeles Unified School District's arts education initiative, 44 out of the 81 districts in the greater L.A. County are now identified as Arts for All partners and committed to standards-based K-12 arts instruction. Funding for Arts for All comes from private foundations, corporations, federal grants and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Arts for All impacts close to 950,000 students and has experienced an annual growth in district participation since it began in 2003 with six vanguard districts. Arts for All has used a pragmatic approach to assist school districts as they build the foundations that support quality, sequential, K-12 arts education in dance, music, theater and visual arts. For many children, this ongoing instruction in the arts is their most memorable educational experience, often leading to jobs and careers in what experts call the "creative economy" of Los Angeles.

Last year the Otis (College) "Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Regions" stated that the creative industry "supported one out of six jobs in the region, generating an estimated $127 billion in sales revenues and $4.6 billion in state and local tax revenues."

Referring to the Arts for All track record, Laura Zucker, the Executive Director of the LA County Arts Commission, said, "It is our hope that our work in L.A. County will provide a model for school districts across the country that are committed to including sequential, standards-based K-12 arts education in the core curriculum."



 
 
 

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