Wallace Foundation Funds Arts Education in Boston

Guess the last word of this sentence: “Arts education in Boston is being _____.”

Recent news from around the nation might have led you to say “cut,” but the right answer, happily, is “expanded.” The city has just announced that the Wallace Foundation will donate $4 million over four years to grow Boston’s Arts Expansion Initiative for public schools.

The Arts Expansion Initiative is a unique public-private partnership that has already raised millions of dollars for arts education in Boston. Its three ambitious goals are to expand direct arts instruction in schools; increase school-based arts programs; and enhance collaborations among schools, arts groups, and higher education institutions.

The numbers suggest that the Boston program has been highly successful so far. In the past three years, 14,000 city students have gained regular access to visual and performing arts instruction.

Superintendent Carol R. Johnson articulated the district’s position in a press release: “In Boston, we have defined arts education as part of a quality education for all students. Our focus on expanding high-quality, equitably distributed arts learning opportunities for our young people is a key piece of our agenda to transform our schools.”

With such a level of commitment and such clear results, it’s no surprise that the Arts Expansion Initiative attracted the eye of the Wallace Foundation. In addition to boosting arts access in schools, the initiative is dedicated to reporting—in detailed, school-by-school fashion—on students’ access to the arts. It also aims to build grassroots demand for the arts in young people and families.

The state of arts education in the United States has been so precarious lately that it’s extremely refreshing to share a story like this one. What we do at Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is a bit different from traditional arts education, but all of us belong to the same family. In the 1990s, the Wallace Foundation—then the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund—sponsored a major LCI research study. Today, we can thank them for this heartening news flash from Boston.

One Response

  1. […] Wallace Foundation Funds Arts Education in Boston Blog: Imagination Now […]

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