December 11, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Announce Schools to Receive Grant Funding as Part of Comprehensive Arts Education Plan

On First Year Anniversary of the Arts Education Plan, 45 Schools will Receive Funding for Art Learning Opportunities

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced today that, as part of the CPS Arts Education Plan, 45 schools will receive funding for art learning opportunities.

“These funds are another resource in our comprehensive arts education plan that provides strong policy, funding, and a data driven system to track progress at all of our schools in offering high quality creative learning opportunities,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This will complement the work our classroom teachers are already doing to educate Chicago’s next generation of leaders, artists and culturally engaged residents.”

This announcement was made on the one-year anniversary of the CPS Arts Education Plan with CEO Byrd-Bennett, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Lyric Opera of Chicago Creative Consultant and soprano Renée Fleming. The Arts Education Plan is the first-ever at CPS and prioritizes arts education for every student in every art form. As part of the plan, over 550 Arts Liaisons are championing the arts in our schools, and a new Creative Schools Certification has been added to the CPS School Progress Report Cards for the current school year. Chicago is the only city in the country that has elevated the arts to the School Progress Report and through a public-private partnership with Ingenuity, developed a systematic data tracking system to track our goal that every school and every child has access to a quality arts education.

To enhance these efforts, the Mayor announced the inaugural grants for the Creative Schools Fund, which was developed in partnership with Ingenuity, the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Public Schools, and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). The Fund is designed to award grants directly to schools to support arts instructors seeking to expand their school’s arts offerings. The school-based certified arts instructors work with their principals to determine how best to enhance their school’s arts curriculum. The Fund provides schools with an opportunity to supplement classroom instruction by expanding arts offerings through strategic partnerships during the school day and is funded by NATO legacy funds.

The fund will award schools grants to support arts partnerships, arts supplies, materials, and other resources. As previously announced, every school that earned Creative Schools Certification received “Arts Essentials” funding totaling up to $750; five schools will receive Arts Innovate awards for up to $15,000 each; and forty schools will receive Arts Advance awards for up to $10,000 each.

“We are very pleased with the diversity of the awardees and their projects, and believe strongly in putting the power of choice into the hands of schools’ certified arts instructors,” said Sydney Sidwell, Associate Director at Ingenuity and manager of the Creative Schools Fund. “With this Fund, we will be able to make and evaluate investments directly into schools, with programming being driven at the school level,” she said.

One school receiving funds is John Spry Elementary School, located in the Little Village Community where almost 50 percent of its students are English Language Learners. Spry teachers will use the Arts Innovate grant from the Creative Schools Fund to collaborate with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) and provide instruction in theater that supports English language acquisition. Students will receive instruction in acting, will work as a theater ensemble, and develop a performance for the school community. The grant will help the school expand its arts education program by adding theater to its current music and visual arts education offerings, and deepen the schools capacity to integrate arts into the curriculum.

"A year ago, Mayor Emanuel put forth a visionary plan to ignite arts education in Chicago Public Schools," said cellist Yo-Yo Ma. "Children are so creative, and studying the arts allows them to acquire the skills of collaboration, flexibility, innovation, and imagination, which all play a significant role in developing young minds and future leaders. The arts should be an integral part of each child’s life, and I am delighted with the success and expansion of the Arts Education Plan in Chicago."

Another example of a school receiving this supplemental arts funding is Frank Gillespie School, which has a visual arts teacher but does not have a fully developed music education program. Gillespie has been awarded an Arts Advance grant from the Creative Schools Fund to integrate music instruction into its technology curriculum. Students will learn music theory, and create and produce original music using professional music software and a production studio. Street Level Youth Media will support the Gillespie teachers and students by providing music and media arts expertise along with access to software and music production equipment.

“A quality arts education is one of the most valuable investments that we can make in a young person’s future,” said soprano Renée Fleming. “As the daughter of two public school music teachers, I have witnessed first-hand the transformative effects of the arts on the lives of children. Strong arts education programs develop creativity and problem-solving skills crucial for success in almost any field. This award will set countless Chicago students on a path to broader opportunity and greater achievement."

"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association is, and will continue to be, deeply committed to engaging the diverse residents of Chicago, and especially the students, teachers and administrators of the Chicago Public Schools," said Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. "As a lead arts partner, we are firm in our commitment -- as a program provider, a collaborative convener, and as a staunch advocate -- to support the implementation of the arts education plan. At the CSO, we believe in the incredible transformative power of music, especially for young people. The CSO's Institute for Learning, Access and Training engages more than 200,000 people from diverse communities across the greater Chicago area each year. Our work is guided by a spirit of citizen musicianship - using the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities, and the lives of others.”

The implementation of the CPS Arts Education Plan is a key strategy for the City to expand access to cultural events to improve the quality of life for residents. Some of these accomplishments include: 415 Arts Partners in CPS schools in the 2012-13 school year, up 70 percent from those identified in the 2011-12 school year, 210,000 youth participating in Chicago Summer of Learning, and nearly 190,000 people participating in Night Out in the Parks.‎

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