The Right Brain Initiative


Any Given Child Portland Metro takes next major step

October 11th, 2011 by Right Brain Team

Any Given Child Portland Metro partners make a powerful pledge for arts education, at the launch celebration October 6, 2011. From left to right: Tim Drilling, Director of Student Achievement, Gresham-Barlow School District; Kathi Robinson, Executive Director of School Improvement, Hillsboro School District; Eloise Damrosch, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council; Cary Clarke, Arts & Culture Policy Director, Office of Mayor Sam Adams; Darrell Ayers, Vice President of Education, The Kennedy Center; Carol R. Smith, Board Chair, Regional Arts & Culture Council; Joel Stuart, Associate Director of Curriculum, K-12, North Clackamas Schools; Carole Smith, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools. (Photo by Miri Stebivka)

Last Thursday, arts education in the Portland area took a giant new leap. Imagine: the mayor of Portland; the superintendent of Portland Public Schools; senior administrators from the Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro and North Clackamas school districts; the executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, join together on one night to pledge to bring the arts to every child, every day in every community. It seems like an incredible notion, but this never-before-seen unified commitment to arts education truly took place last week. Program partners came together to celebrate the completion of Phase 1 for Any Given Child, a national project of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, that brings communities together to make equitable arts education a reality.Right Brain was proud to spearhead the local Any Given Child application to the Kennedy Center and help facilitate the process throughout the year. We began by engaging in an audit of community resources. We surveyed school districts, teachers, principals, arts organizations, and the general public, to determine what is currently happening within arts education, and where there are gaps.

The partners, with the support of a Community Arts Team of art education leaders, then agreed upon a vision of a complete arts education for every child:

“We commit to an arts-literate culture in every school with rich, diverse arts learning experiences for every K-8 child, every day, in every community. We value opportunities for all children to create, to communicate, to think critically, to collaborate, and to learn to think in new ways. In our vision, arts education starts early and lasts a lifetime.”

Students of My Voice Music (from left to right): Diamond Key, Nate Grein and Jared Graham not only wowed us with their musical performances, but they also reminded us why we are all engaged in this work, with powerful statements about how the arts play contribute to their personal and academic development. Our emcee and RACC Board Chair Carol R. Smith (right) looks on. (Photo by Miri Stebivka)

This results from the first phase of this work were announced before an estimated 200 members of the public. We released the highlights from our needs assessment, shared incredible performances from students of My Voice Music, a photo booth run by the students of My Story, a performance by Portland Taiko, and a video testimonial booth.

It was a successful and inspiring move toward a brand new era for public arts education.

Stay tuned as we spend the next year developing a feasible long-range plan that will pool resources to move us toward our vision.

A student from My Story runs the photo booth at the celebration. (Photo by Miri Stebivka)

Read the full news release about this event and accompanying report.

Download the Phase 1 report, which includes data highlights and the established vision for arts education.
See our full set of event images on Flickr.
See a video recap of the evening on the Mayor’s blog.
Read more about the history of Any Given Child Portland Metro.

Thank you to our event sponsors: Henry V, Ziba, Widmer, Barefoot Wines, Art de Cuisine Catering and Fastsigns.


Right Brain Team