The Hennigan K-8 School, English High School, JFK Elementary School and Community Academy are four of dozens of schools that are receiving more than $450,000 in grants to provide arts instruction.
The grants are part of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion initiative, which has schools working with more than 30 arts partners to provide long-term direct arts instruction for the 2018-2019 school year.
These grants are supported by BPS Arts Expansion funders including the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenweiser Foundation, Klarman Family Foundation and Linde Family Foundation.
Boston officials, BPS and EdVestors announced the latest round of grants as part of this week’s BPS Citywide Arts Festival on June 14.
“We believe that all Boston residents should have the ability to engage in creativity and be part of Boston’s rich arts and culture scene, so it is so exciting to have so many of our BPS students showcasing their talents throughout the Citywide Arts Festival this week,” said Mayor Martin Walsh via press release. “We are grateful to the partners in the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion, which has been working on the issue of equity and access to arts education for nearly a decade.”
The BPS Arts Expansion initiative is a multi-year effort focused on increasing access, equity and quality of arts learning for all BPS students. The 2018-2019 school year grants mark the tenth year of grant-making for the Arts Expansion Fund and the first year for Phase 4 of the initiative and the Fund (2018-2021). As part of this fourth phase of the BPS Arts Expansion initiative, BPS, in collaboration with EdVestors, are working together to raise $3 million to sustain high levels of arts education in the district over a three-year period.
As a result of this ongoing collaboration, there are now 80 percent more arts teachers working with 65 community arts partners providing arts instruction to more than 17,000 annually as compared to eight years ago. From 2009-2017, the percentage of BPS pre-K-8th grade students receiving a minimum of weekly, year-long arts instruction or its equivalent increased from 67 percent to 96 percent.
“Supporting our children’s creative and intellectual growth through arts education is an important investment in our future,” said Laura Perille, previously the President & CEO of EdVestors and now the Interim Superintendent for Boston Public Schools, via press release. “Boston is leading the nation in increasing access to quality arts education, and we are proud of our long-term partnership with the Boston Public Schools and our committed partners to close opportunity gaps for our students.”
The impact of the Arts Expansion was seen on display at the annual BPS Citywide Arts Festival, as student performers and exhibitors from schools celebrated the power of creativity, joined by parents and community members. The Festival, which ran June 5 through June 7, featured students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, presenting visual arts exhibits and vocal, musical, dance and theater performances.