policy and advocacy
Steps to Art GranteesA panel of arts education professionals convened on September 30, 2002, to identify ten recipients of Steps to Art funds. Steps to Art, a partnership between Americans for the Arts, Elefanten children's shoe company, and children's musician Laurie Berkner raised funds and awareness for early childhood arts education through a cause marketing campaign which included CD sales, a concert tour, media relations, marketing, and advertising efforts. All proceeds from the campaign's CD sales will be distributed to ten arts organizations working in partnership with local preschools. These organizations, which will be announced next week as part of National Arts and Humanities Month, will each receive $5,000 for either the development of new or the enhancement of existing preschool-aged arts education programs. The following grant recipients have been identified:
- The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County (Winston-Salem, NC)
- Burklyn Arts Council (Lyndonville, VT)
- Hawai'i Alliance for Arts Education (Honolulu, HI)
- Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company (Austin, TX)
- MacPhail Center for the Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
- Making Books Sing, Inc. (New York, NY)
- Music & Arts Center for Humanity (Bridgeport, CT)
- Pierce County Arts & Cultural Services (Tacoma, WA)
- Preservation Worcester (Sutton, MA)
- Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)
"The response we received from arts organizations and preschools across the county demonstrates the immense need for more funding and more work in the area of preschool arts education," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "We received responses from organizations large and small, based in rural and urban cities and towns in nearly every state. Clearly, every community wants and needs more arts programming for its youngest children."
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County (Winston-Salem, NC)
Forsyth County Steps to Art Project
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, in collaboration with Forsyth Early Childhood Partnership, will provide an 18-week comprehensive arts education program aimed specifically at low-income children in childcare programs in Forsyth County, NC. Approximately 60 four-year-old children in four different childcare centers will receive arts instruction in visual arts, music, movement, and drama. Each participating classroom will receive the complete series of arts programming along with associated written materials in order to extend the experiences beyond the session time, including at-home activities and other suggested activities for the classroom. The program seeks to provide enriching arts experiences that are measurable and also to motivate lower-rated childcare centers to access additional quality improvement programs.
Burklyn Arts Council (Lyndonville, VT)
Sheep to Shawl
Burklyn Arts Council, located in the rural, economically disadvantaged "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont, will partner with the Caledonia North Supervisory Union, which incorporates all the public and private schools in a seven-town area. The project will present 100 preschoolers with hands-on learning through visual and literacy arts about farming, a traditional way of life in rural Vermont and an important element of the local culture. Children and their parents will visit local dairy, sheep, and alpaca farms and participate with an artist as wool is shorn, carded, spun, and knit into a shawl. They will participate with another artist in the creation of a book (making paper, writing, illustrating, and binding) summarizing the process. Children will be hands-on participants in every stage of both processes, from petting the sheep before it is shorn, to making their own patch of felt, writing and illustrating the pages for their own book, gluing the final book binding, and documenting the process on camera. Additional artist workshops will be offered to families and childcare providers in order to encourage them to incorporate a variety of arts activities into their daily lives and programs.
Hawai'i Alliance for Arts Education (Honolulu, HI)
ARTS FIRST, a demonstration project, is implementing, documenting, and evaluating an artintegrated curriculum to improve student learning for 140 rural students at Waiahole Elementary—a Title I school with 65% Hawaiian/part-Hawaiian population, an integrated Pre-K, and an on-campus Head Start program. Steps to Art funds will be used for the early childhood portion of the demonstration project, whose goals are: 1) To show significant improvement in student performance, positive attitudes, and motivation through strengthening the use of high-quality, standards-based arts in academic instruction and as a core subject in the regular school curriculum; 2) To improve and change ways teachers provide instruction by engaging students more effectively; and 3) To observe and document changes in teaching pedagogy and to spark new interest in learning by both teachers and students.
Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company (Austin, TX)
Leaps and Bounds
Steps to Art will support a multidisciplinary arts enrichment program for 58 children at Mainspring Nursery School, a school that primarily serves families at or below the poverty line. The in-school program will consist of creative dance, music, and visual arts classes for preschool-age children, dance and music classes for infants and toddlers, parent-child classes, and teacher-training sessions. The program will be directed by the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company, a professional modern dance-presenting organization whose mission includes community engagement through education and outreach.
MacPhail Center for the Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
Early Childhood Arts Program
MacPhail Center for the Arts was one of the first music schools in the nation to develop a comprehensive Early Childhood Arts (ECA) curriculum. ECA classes serve 350 preschoolers per year and support the inclusion of students with special needs. MacPhail's Steps to Art program will serve 40 children through the age of six from Free to Be, Inc., an organization serving welfare families in Blaine, MN. Age-appropriate curriculum will include vocal, rhythmic, and instrument exploration for three- to four-year-olds and their caregivers; introduction to musical literature, creative movement, dance and drama for four- to five-year-olds; and instrument study for five- to six-year-olds.
Making Books Sing, Inc. (New York, NY)
Reach Out:Building Literacy Readiness and Community through the Arts
Reach Out will adapt the successful professional performance and residency format of Making Books Sing—a format that has served over 20,000 1st–6th graders in New York City school districts—to the development needs of children ages three to five. Steps to Art funds will support a pilot program for preschool children at Public School 39, a small community-based public school in Brooklyn, NY. The Reach Out program will involve over 200 children, parents, and teachers in a multifaceted performing and visual arts program integrated into the curricular subjects of separation and storytelling. The program includes teacher instruction, performances by a professional storyteller, a six-session creative play/movement residency, parent-child visual arts workshops, and an evening of stories celebration.
Music & Arts Center for Humanity (Bridgeport, CT)
Arts as Basic to Children (ABC)
Steps to Art will help support Arts as Basic to Children (ABC), a multifaceted project designed to strategically incorporate the arts (visual arts, music, dance/movement, language arts, and creative drama) into early childhood practice and classroom environments in Head Start, School Readiness, and associated childcare facilities throughout Connecticut. The ABC project involves an artist residency component, professional development workshops, a summer training institute, and ongoing technical assistance. As the new Connecticut affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, MACH will incorporate Wolf Trap methodologies and practices into all residency programs with childcare providers across the state. From October 2002 through August 2003, the ABC program will serve a minimum of 24 classrooms, 24 early childhood educators, 24 aides, 250 parents, and 400 children ages 1 through 6.
Pierce County Arts & Cultural Services (Tacoma, WA)
Pasando a la Imaginacion
Pasando a la Imaginacion will serve 18 children from two Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) preschool classrooms, which are sited in the towns of Puyallup and Eatonville, WA, primarily rural areas of the county with little or no arts programming available to them. The project will create a bridge between English-speaking culture and the Hispanic community by exploring art through the use of both English and Spanish languages while enhancing English language acquisition. Classes explore a variety of materials and techniques, including oil pastel drawing, mixed media collage, bilingual/multicultural storytelling, and mural/mosaic. Bilingual artists will provide instruction to the predominately Spanish-speaking students.
Preservation Worcester (Sutton, MA)
Architecture in Movement: "Go Building, Go!"
One of Preservation Worcester's three overarching goals is to promote pride in the city by educating the public, aged preschool to adult, about the city's architectural heritage. Architecture in Movement: "Go Building Go!," in partnership with Worcester Child Development Head Start, is designed to make architecture (and creative movement) permanent parts of what Head Start offers. The program establishes links between a child's internal self, as expressed through the power of creative movement, and his external environment, as expressed through the power of architectural history and design. Steps to Art funds will help support a three-year process that includes teacher training and professional development, creative movement instruction for 41 Head Start classrooms, walking tours of the Head Start Center's neighborhood for parents, teachers, and community members once per year, guided bus tours four times per year for the Head Start community, an American Institute of Architects Intern Development Program, curriculum development, documentation, and evaluation.
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)
Wolf Trap has been working in the field of arts education for children ages three to five for over 20 years. Most recently, it has sought to expand its programs to include younger children and their families. Steps to Art will support Baby STEPS, a new program of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, serving children from birth through age three and their parents. In partnership with Higher Horizons Head Start in Falls Church, VA, Wolf Trap will offer 34 weekly music classes to 15 infants and toddlers and their parents/caregivers. The Baby STEPS program focuses on increasing sensory awareness, spatial relations, gross motor development, and language skills. During the one-hour class, parent and child experience musical elements through movement and singing, supporting an infant's intellectual, social, and emotional development and fostering self-expression and creativity.