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The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Announces Austin, Texas as Partner City for Any Given Child

Program Creates a Long-Range Arts Education Plan for Students Grades K-8

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen Austin, Texas as the seventh partner city for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will incorporate existing resources of the Austin Independent School District, along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the city. The city joins existing partnerships in Sacramento, California; Springfield, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Sarasota, Florida.

Any Given Child seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each child's arts education, using an affordable model that combines the resources of the school district, local arts groups, and the Kennedy Center. With the assistance of expert consultation services provided by Kennedy Center staff and other professionals, community leaders develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for the school district and community.

"It is well-known that arts are a fundamental part of Austin's economy, community and identity, and I commend Mayor Leffingwell, City Manager Marc Ott, and Superintendent Carstarphen for committing to provide the next generation with a foundation in the arts" said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. "A consistent arts education improves students' intellectual, personal, and social development. The Kennedy Center wants to ensure that every child receives a solid, meaningful arts education from kindergarten through eighth grade."

Austin Mayor Leffingwell added, "Austin is recognized nationally for our commitment to the creative industries, which supports thousands of jobs and is critical to our cultural fabric and economic vitality. I'm excited for this partnership and believe this program will have a positive impact on the creative sector as well the quality of life for our residents."

Austin City Manager Marc Ott echoed those sentiments, noting the importance of providing students with a quality arts education. "Austin prides itself as a model for artistic expression and creative innovation. It's vital that we provide tools to nurture those skills at every age so Austin maintains this identity for generations to come."

"The research is clear," said Dr. Carstarphen. "Students with access to rigorous creative learning, experience higher levels of academic achievement and college attainment. In fact, students who attend arts-rich schools are more than twice as likely to attend college as similar students who do not have as much access to the arts. The Kennedy Center's partnership provides us the support we need to make sure that any given child in our district has access to these benefits."

The process will be managed locally by mindPOP, an arts partnership representing 50 arts and cultural agencies, dedicated to expanding creative learning in Austin. By using existing resources, the project aims to remain affordable by creating little administrative overhead. mindPOP Executive Director Brent Hasty said, "We are thrilled to work with our partners at the city and Austin ISD to develop innovative solutions that will allow our students and teachers to be successful. By coordinating our efforts to support creative learning, we can increase our impact on student achievement and prepare our students to be innovative thinkers with the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century." The first phase of the program begins with a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment by Kennedy Center staff and consultants. A review of the community and the school system will reveal what arts education resources currently exist, and what arts organizations and other community groups offer. Based on this information, a plan is created that focuses on increasing arts education opportunities for K-8 students. The audit process takes approximately nine to ten months. In addition, educators and artists can take advantage of a wealth of resources available from the Kennedy Center, such as supplemental lessons with online interactive learning modules and videos available at, professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and many others. The goal of this second phase is to provide a tapestry of arts education, strategically weaving together existing arts resources within the schools with those available from community providers and the Kennedy Center in order to reach every child.

In 2009, the Kennedy Center and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the first formal Any Given Child program in Sacramento, California and immediately began phase one of the program in October of that year. Now in the implementation phase, Sacramento has added artist residencies in select schools and provided performing and visual arts experiences for all students K-8 in the two participating school districts. In February 2010, Springfield, Missouri became the second school district to participate in the program. Portland, Oregon joined the program in June 2010, and Las Vegas, Nevada joined in December 2010. Tulsa, Oklahoma joined the program in May 2011, and Sarasota, Florida joined in June, 2011. The Kennedy Center is accepting applications from other cities around the country.

About Education at the Kennedy Center

For more than 35 years, educational programming has been at the central core of the Kennedy Center's mission. The Kennedy Center, along with its affiliates/partners (the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera and VSA), offers inclusive educational performances and programs in the arts to people of all ages. The educational resources focus on producing, presenting, and touring performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based residencies and other programs that directly impact teachers, students, administrators, and artists through professional development; systemic and school improvement through the arts and arts integrated curricula; partnerships; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; the development of careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations.

About mindPOP

mindPOP is a dynamic collaboration of educators, arts organizations, funders and schools committed to expanding arts-rich learning for kids and teens across Austin. To help bring this goal to reality, mindPOP manages the coordinated efforts between the school district and the arts community to develop and implement solutions that promote equity, access and quality creative learning programs that lead to student success. In 2009, under the leadership of Dr. Brent Hasty, mindPOP was founded to identify gaps in arts distribution, create evaluation tools, professional development for teachers and artists, and to coordinate the resources necessary to maintain an arts-rich school district. mindPOP is supported by the Still Water Foundation, Webber Family Foundation, Applied Materials Foundation, Tapestry Foundation, Prentice Foundation, Orsinger Foundation and other generous donors.

About City of Austin Fine Arts Division

The Cultural Arts Division (CAD) of the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office provides leadership and management for the City's cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries as an economic development strategy. CAD is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art In Public Places Program, Civic Arts, community based arts development, and programs to assist the development of music, film and creative industries in Austin, as well as initiatives designed to support and encourage the community's unique cultural identity and vitality. The Cultural Arts Division managed the CreateAustin community cultural planning process where strategies for Creativity and Learning became key principal recommendations. The City is a direct partner through the Cultural Arts Funding Program, with talented artists and arts organizations who are committed to providing arts opportunities and arts education to citizens of all ages, as well as the production and promotion of quality works of art of all disciplines.

About Fine Arts in Austin ISD

Austin ISD maintains a firm commitment to quality Fine Arts instruction with a strategic goal of equitable access to and support of quality fine arts as a part of a strong core academic curriculum for all students. In addition to strong arts education programs throughout the district, Austin ISD maintains high levels of Fine Arts staffing and committed community partnerships, unique among large urban school districts. Recently, the district and the arts community have collaborated to develop a demonstration model for "arts-rich schools" at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels using the McCallum HS vertical team strand as development sites.



Any Given Child, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts.

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Amanda Hunter
The Kennedy Center
(202) 416-8441 

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