Baltimore City is the ninth city to be chosen for the Any Given Child Initiative, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that moves to bolster arts education in public schools.
On Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake visited Highlandtown Elementary School, along with Baltimore Schools CEO Andres Alonso and representatives from the Kennedy Center.
Nancy Fagan, principal of Highlandtown Elementary, lauded the arts’ role in “making learning fun.”
“Everybody wants to be a star,” she said. “Everybody wants to be a celebrity. Now my students get to meet these people that call performance their livelihood.”
According to press materials, artists are taking residencies in certain public schools in Sacramento, the first city chosen for the Any Given Child Initiative, and similar programming could come to Baltimore.
Any Given Child works in two phases, the first of which is an audit of sorts. With help from Arts Every Day, a Baltimore nonprofit, Kennedy Center staff will analyze arts programming already in place, and assess the resources available to improve, enhance, and add to that programming. Local arts organizations and community groups will be tapped to play a role at the schools.
The second phase of Any Given Child is implementation, and the goal is to reach all children in grades K-8.
According to press materials, the Any Given Child program works with local organizations and existing resources, and “aims to create little adminnistrative overhead, remaining affordable.”
“This is what it’s all about,” said Rawlings-Blake, “using every resource we have available and leveraging it until it can’t be leveraged anymore.”
The Any Given Child Initiative is part of David and Alice Rubenstein’s Rubenstein Arts Access Program, and is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
by Erik Zygmont