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RACC Press release: Kennedy Center announces arts education partnership with Portland metro area

Press Contacts:

John Dow

The Kennedy Center

(202) 416-8448

[email protected]

Roy Kaufmann

Office of Mayor Sam Adams

(503) 823-4799

[email protected]

Jeff Hawthorne

Regional Arts & Culture Council

(503) 823-5258

[email protected]


June 22, 2010 –


Kennedy Center announces arts education partnership with Portland metro area


WASHINGTON, D.C. —The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen the Portland metropolitan area as their third partner community for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will use existing resources of four Portland-area school districts currently collaborating in The Right Brain Initiative (Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, and Portland), along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the community.  The partnership will be coordinated locally by The Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Any Given Child seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each child’s arts education, using an affordable model that combines the resources of the school districts, local arts groups, and the Kennedy Center.  With the assistance of expert consultation services provided by Kennedy Center staff and other professionals, community leaders develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for the Portland community and school districts.

“Any given child in this country deserves the opportunity to experience and engage in the arts,” said Darrell M. Ayers, Kennedy Center Vice President of Education.  “By offering a strong arts education, young people benefit in their intellectual, personal and social development.  We want to ensure that every child receives an arts education in kindergarten through eighth grade in Portland and that Any Given Child communities serve as examples for other cities across the United States.”

“Especially in these incredibly challenging economic times, we must ensure that the arts are part of the ongoing education of every child in our community,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “I wholeheartedly thank the Kennedy Center for recognizing Portland’s collaborative spirit and choosing Portland to be the third American city to participate in Any Given Child.  Arts education is an indispensable investment in our children’s ability to understand the world around them, succeed in all disciplines, stay connected to their learning, and help Portland compete globally as they join the workforce.”

By partnering with local arts organizations and using existing resources, the program aims to create little administrative cost, remaining affordable to school districts across the nation. The first phase of the program involves a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment by Kennedy Center staff and consultants. A review of the community and the school system will reveal what arts education currently exists and what arts organizations and other community groups offer. Based on this information, a plan is created. The audit process will begin in October 2010 and takes approximately six to nine months.

During phase two of the program, a community committee makes recommendations to the school districts and local arts groups on how best to implement the recently created arts education plan, focusing on increasing arts opportunities for all students. The community committee includes:

·       Cary Clarke, Arts & Culture Coordinator, Mayor's Office, Portland

·       Sarah Collins, Public Policy & Management Master's Candidate, University of Oregon

·       Tim Drilling, Director of Student Achievement, Gresham-Barlow School District

·       Tim DuRoche, Director or Programs, World Affairs Council of Oregon

·       Kasandra Gruener, Director of Education & Outreach, Oregon Ballet Theatre

·       Denis Hickey Assoc. Director of Elementary Programs, North Clackamas School District

·       Ross McKeen, Managing Director, Oregon Children's Theatre

·       Carole Morse, President, PGE Foundation

·       Tina Olsen, Director of Education and Public Programs, Portland Art Museum

·       Jon Pede, Principal, Jackson Elementary, Hillsboro School District

·       Kathi Robinson, Executive Director of School Improvement, Hillsboro School District

·       Carin Rosenberg, Right Brain Implementation Manager, Young Audiences

·       Carol Smith, Retired Educator and RACC Board Chair

·       Joseph Suggs, Director of Evaluation & Assessment, Portland Public Schools

·       Deborah Vaughn, Arts Education Coordinator, Oregon Arts Commission

·       and others yet to be named


Throughout this partnership, educators and artists will take advantage of a wealth of resources available from the Kennedy Center, such as supplemental lessons with online interactive learning modules and videos available at www.artsedge.org. The goal of this second phase is to provide a tapestry of arts education, strategically weaving together existing arts resources within the schools with those available from community providers and the Kennedy Center in order to reach every child.

Last fall, the Kennedy Center and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a similar partnership in Sacramento, California.  Kennedy Center staff began phase one of the program in October 2009. In February of this year, Springfield, Missouri became the second school district to participate in the program. The Kennedy Center is accepting applications from other school systems around the country. Communities that are part of the Any Given Child initiative will have access to Kennedy Center arts education resources, including professional development opportunities in the arts and arts integration for teachers and artists; resources on the Internet including lesson plans, interactive modules, and videos; and other arts education programs from the Kennedy Center.


About the Kennedy Center Education Department

For more than 35 years, the Kennedy Center has provided quality arts educational experiences through performances, residencies, workshops, conferences, career development programs, symposia, and on-line and print resources.  In the past year, the Center’s education programs have directly impacted more than 16 million people across the nation.  The educational mission of the Kennedy Center is to foster understanding of and participation in the arts through exemplary programs and performances for diverse populations of all ages that represent the unique cultural life and heritage of the United States.  For more information, visit the Center’s website at www.kennedy-center.org/education, and the Any Given Child website at www.kennedy-center.org/education/anygivenchild.


About The Right Brain Initiative

The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local governments, foundations, businesses and the cultural community, which launched its programming in Portland area classrooms in January 2009. The program’s goal is to achieve a measurable impact on learning by integrating the community’s arts and cultural resources into the education of every K-8 student in the Portland metropolitan region’s school districts. The Right Brain Initiative is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, with Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington serving as Implementation Partner. For more information visit  www.TheRightBrainInitiative.org.






Mary Bauer

Communications Associate

Regional Arts & Culture Council

108 NW 9th Avenue, #300

Portland, OR 97209


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