Friday, January 8, 2016

Vans and Americans for the Arts envision a country where every child has access to—and takes part in—high quality learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community. As such, the two organizations partnered to create the Custom Culture Grant Program to promote awareness and support arts education in public schools. Today the partners announced that eight schools across the country that have been awarded a $2,500 grant for the 2015-2016 school year. 
“Research shows that students who study the arts outperform their peers who do not. In addition, study of the arts also teaches discipline, creative thinking, problem-solving and communications skills—all of which are essential for today’s youth to succeed in the 21st Century workforce,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These schools demonstrated through their competitive application for this grant that they are not only committed to providing their students with a well-rounded education, but also to growing and improving their arts education programs. These funds will help support that growth.”
“Congratulations to all of the students and teachers,” said Sarah Crockett, VP of Global Consumer Marketing. "In a time when schools are faced with shrinking budgets, arts education programs are often the first to be cut. At Vans, we believe every student has a right to art and it is very important to us to support their creative expression by funding their school arts initiatives. With the Vans Custom Culture Grant program, we hope to inspire students and help foster their local #RightToArt movement to raise awareness for arts education." 

Follow the movement on Instagram @vans.custom.culture and by using the hashtags #RightToArt and #VansCustomCulture
(Photo Credits: Above - "The Nutcracker: All Mixed Up." Photographer: Ms Melanie DuBose and film students, East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet; Right - Photo by Jennifer Jimenez, age 16, Belmont High School)
Chosen from a nationwide pool, here are the schools and their projects:
School Name City State Use of Funds
Susan Miller Dorsey High School Los Angeles CA purchase equipment to create a state-of-the-art film production and post production facility 
LAUSD / USC Cinematic Arts & Engineering (CAE) Magnet Los Angeles CA create socially-conscious documentaries or ad campaigns for various social issues effecting their school and/or communities
Fenway High School Boston MA produce a series of large-scale murals to beautify the school building we recently moved into and to cultivate a sense of student pride and ownership in the new school
East Chapel Hill High Chapel Hill NC provide musical enrichment to people with developmental disabilities; pay for transportation for students in the Rock Band Club to join the workshops as mentors; perform together at the graduation ceremony; and have music professionally recorded and mixed 
Belmont High School Los Angeles CA purchase cameras for students to use on the weekends, documenting their families and the city of Los Angeles through the art of street photography
Berkeley High School Jazz Program Berkeley CA cultivate greater diversity within our acclaimed jazz bands, to ensure our musicians reflect the great diversity of our school district and community through the event "JazzGirls Day"
Dublin Coffman High School Dublin OH hire a guest choreographer to implement more ballet and modern dance into our marching band shows and to inspire students to learn more about the performing arts
East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet Los Angeles CA produce a contemporary, hip-hop and jazzy version of the Nutcracker performances for the community free of charge