Kennedy Center chooses Baltimore for Any Given Child arts education program

September 17, 2012

The Kennedy Center has chosen Baltimore as the ninth city in its Any Given Child multi-year arts education program for students in grades K-8, it announced Monday.

The announcement at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School featured Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D), Baltimore schools chief executive Andres Alonso and Darrell Ayers, the Kennedy Center’s vice president for education and marked the first city in the area to be chosen for the program.

“We greatly value the role our arts community plays in the education of our children and look forward to working with the Kennedy Center to improve access to the arts for our young people,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

“We chose Baltimore because the mayor was very passionate and believes very strongly in how important the arts are to her community,” Ayers said.

Any Given Child began in 2009 in Sacramento and typically involves three cities per year, selected by Kennedy Center staff members from a pool of applications from local government, school and arts coalitions. Tulsa; Sarasota, Fla.; Springfield, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; southern Nevada; Austin; and Iowa City are among the other communities in different phases of the program, which begins with a survey of existing arts programs. The cost and exact length of the program depend on the city, but the survey phase can range from six to nine months and cost between $30,000 and $50,000, with the recommended implementations stretching for another three years at a varied cost.

“We provide resources either in person, in print or online,” Ayers said. That can involve professional development for teachers or artists working in schools, how-to videos and student interactives. “Because we have access to so many artists — more than 2,000 a year — we’re constantly developing new education resources.”

Ayers called the first 10 to 12 cities of wide-ranging populations and economic backgrounds “demonstration communities.” We can’t be everywhere, he said, and “these are examples for other communities on how they can do it.”

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