Private Funds Fuel Arts Ed

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Private dollars are pouring into public and private schools alike as arts-advocacy groups lead the charge to integrate arts into school curricula. Partnerships have become very popular, and many groups have "adopted" schools willing to work with them on expanding arts ed.

The Getty Education Institute for the Arts, Los Angeles

An arm of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the institute's primary focus is improving the quality of arts education in US schools through a systematic, discipline-based approach. In 1987 the institute created six regional institutes in the US to help schools expand offerings in the arts. The institute has reached an estimated 2 million students and helped to train 12,000 teachers. More recently, in collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation, the institute selected 36 partner schools that have committed to a five-year effort to place discipline-based arts ed at the core of their curricula.

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Lincoln Center Institute, New York

This program, founded in 1975, is affiliated with New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. About 2,200 teachers and school administrators attend LCI workshops on teaching the arts each year. LCI is currently partnering with 320 public schools in the New York-New Jersey- Connecticut area. It encourages teachers to use works of art as "texts" to help students develop problem-solving and abstract-thinking skills. To date, 18 other institutions - 17 in the US, one in Australia - have sprung up using LCI as a model.

Young Audiences, New York

This 54-year-old nonprofit organization works to bring artists and performers into classrooms, either for single visits or for longer workshops and artist-in-residency programs. In 1986, YA also launched a program called Arts Partners that joins with schools to connect students to their community's cultural resources and also to make arts education a systematic part of core curricula.

The Annenberg Challenge, Saint Davids, Pa.

The challenge allocates $500 million to improve the quality of education in the US. Among the grants intended to foster arts education are a $3.2 million matching grant to a public-private partnership using the arts to reform Minneapolis public schools; a $12-million matching grant working with New York City public schools and a nonprofit arts group to bring arts education back to the schools. A $2-million challenge grant supports the partnership between Boston University and the public schools of Chelsea, Mass., which includes an arts initiative.

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