The Arts Access Initiative was launched in August of 2015 as a way to provide all students in HISD with equal access to a high quality arts education. At that time, HISD was selected by the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts to serve as the 19th site for their national arts education program.
For the past three school years, the pilot program has utilized resources from the district, Houston arts organizations, the City of Houston, and the Kennedy Center to increase arts opportunities for thousands of HISD students in dozens of schools. Young Audiences also provided invaluable support by acting as the backbone of the organization’s pilot phase. These first three years were funded through the generosity of the Houston Endowment, Inc., and the Powell Foundation.
What began with 11 schools in the first year has grown to 28,000 students in 44 schools for the current year, as well as some 40 partner arts organizations. Continue reading →
Last year, the number of schools receiving creative learning experiences through the Arts Access Initiative grew to 25 from 11 the previous year. That number has now grown to 44 schools.
AAI representatives from nearly all of the participating schools came together in June for a Meet and Greet, where they learned more about the opportunities available to them through some 40 partner arts organizations. The group was welcomed by AAI Director Deborah Lugo. Remarks were made by HISD’s new fine arts director, Wenden Sanders. Continue reading →
Thanks to its partnership with the Arts Access Initiative, Lyons Elementary School was able to reach out to Theatre Under the Stars to loan them a director and choreographer to help with their production of “The Lion King” on April 20. And because it takes place two days before Earth Day, April 22, they decided to use only recycled materials for the stage set and actors’ masks. Consequently, nearly every student at Lyons is involved in some way in the production — and lessons in nearly every school subject area were applied to make the play come together.
Ivan Gonzalez is dressed as his character for the 2016 production of “The Nutcracker” at the Wortham Center, performed by the Houston Ballet.
Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.
“Don’t be nervous, Ivan. Just do your best.”
Ivan Gonzalez was about to perform in Houston Ballet’s 2016 production of “The Nutcracker” at the Wortham Center, and his father was there to calm his nerves.
The “Nutcracker” was not Ivan’s first stage production. In May 2015, the Wainwright Elementary student was selected to participate in Houston Ballet’s “Chance to Dance” program, a series of free ballet classes for first- and second-graders at schools that don’t have a dance program and where 75% or more of the students are economically disadvantaged.
The word is out about the benefits of the Arts Access Initiative for students. This school year, the organization has been working with 11 schools in HISD. Out of more than 40 HISD schools that applied to join AAI in the coming 2016–2017 school year, only 14 were selected. The new HISD elementary and middle schools are: Continue reading →
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that the Houston Independent School District together with the City of Houston would serve as the 19th site for their national arts education program.
The Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child program will take existing resources from HISD, local arts organizations, the City of Houston, and the Kennedy Center and combine them to increase arts opportunities and provide high-quality arts education for 7,000 students at 11 schools.
The schools include Atherton, Benbrook, Eliot, Hartsfield, Hines-Caldwell, Kashmere Gardens, Memorial, Mitchell, Scarborough, and Whittier elementary schools, and Hamilton Middle School. Additional schools are expected to be added in the coming years. Continue reading →