Let it be known: The Right Brain Initiative is actively engaged in nationally relevant arts education research and strategic thinking. An article in the latest issue of the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Art Notes describes the nature of our work with the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program and boils down what it means for the future of arts education in this region. Read the full article below or download a .pdf file of Art Notes here.
Right Brain leads regional arts education plan
The community is gathering, with support from the Kennedy Center, to assess and plan for comprehensive, sustainable arts education in the Portland tri-county region.
On October 6, a steering committee of local arts, education and community leaders gathered at Portland City Hall with high energy. This group assembled for the first meeting focused on Any Given Child, a strategic arts education enterprise for the Portland area lead by The Right Brain Intiatiative. Right Brain is a K-8 arts education program managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
On a national level, Any Given Child is an effort conceived and driven by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. With a focus on K-8 education, Any Given Child “seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each child’s arts education, using an affordable model able model that combines the resources of the school district, local arts groups, and the Kennedy Center.” Selected last June by the Kennedy Center for this program, the Portland metropolitan area now joins Sacramento, California and Springfield, Missouri as the third national participant.
Any Given Child emphasizes leveraging existing community assets to collectively repair the arts equity gap in public schools through increased access to broad creative learning. Due to the closely aligned goals of Any Given Child and The Right Brain Initiative, the team will use the current programming of Right Brain as a foundation for this work. With the support of Kennedy Center staff , the Any Given Child steering committee will conduct an intensive audit of arts education resources in the four districts currently served by The Right Brain Initiative, also co-applicants for the project: Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, North Clackamas and Portland Public Schools. The group will then use this data, and public input, to create a customized long-range plan for comprehensive arts education that is equitable and sustainable in this region.
Darrell Ayers, Vice President for Education, The Kennedy Center said: “The Portland area has so many good things happening in arts education—from the work of RACC and The Right Brain Initiative to the plethora of outstanding arts organizations working in the schools/community. It was a natural for Portland to be part of the Any Given Child program. The support of Mayor Adams and the school leadership—from the superintendents to the teachers—has been outstanding. The Kennedy Center is pleased to work with all facets of the Portland area community to ensure that any given child has the arts as part of their education.”
In October, the group (at right) met to envision the elements of a comprehensive arts education and to identify which constituents to include in the survey process. During the next sixth months, the committee will create and implement survey tools to tabulate the resources and needs of the current arts education landscape in area schools.
The first set of research findings will be published and available to the public by October 2011. This data will help educate the region about the state of arts education in our school systems, and will be available for all groups and individuals engaged in arts education advocacy.
The completed plan is slated to be finished in 2012. By design, it will then be ready to expand to all school districts of the Portland tri-county region.
Any Given Child stresses access to diverse arts disciplines for all K-8 children—also in line with the values of The Right Brain Initiative. A community partnership program managed by RACC, Right Brain was brought to life after an intensive series of input meetings with the Portland regional community. The Right Brain Initiative exists to ensure high quality arts education that integrates with other school subjects for all K-8 students in the school districts of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Right Brain launched in 2008, and entered K-8 classrooms in January of 2009. Right Brain’s school programming currently serves nearly 11,000 students and 25 schools throughout the region.