“Every child should have access to art and creativity in school. No matter what career path they choose, this creative play sets them up to trust their instincts, believe in themselves and to solve problems,” says Gehry.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 20, 2014
For distinguished arts education advocates Frank Gehry and Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, their arrival today in Washington, D.C. signals a new day, and renewed hope, for ten California elementary schools among the lowest performing in the state.
Gehry and Feruzzi Shriver are headed to the White House to take part in the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) launch being hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Lady will welcome state affiliates to the Turnaround Arts program of which a handful of states were accepted, with California having the largest statewide affiliate program to date.
Turnaround Arts is a public-private partnership launched by the White House in 2012 designed to help failing schools develop and implement high quality arts education that will be used specifically to effectively address and turnaround the pervasive and persistent problems found in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools. By using the arts as a tool in failing schools’ turnaround efforts, students are strategically engaged while they learn 21st century skills critical to their success.
Gehry, the award-winning, world-renowned architect, has been a key Turnaround Arts CA investor from the organization’s inception and will be an artist mentor for one of the ten chosen schools. Along with Feruzzi Shriver, Executive Director of Turnaround Arts CA, the two are spearheading the ambitious statewide initiative in California as an affiliate of the PCAH national program.
Other well-known celebrities committed to be an artist mentor of a California school include Jason Mraz, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington, Frank Gehry, Rashida Jones, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Marc Anthony, Tim Robbins, Chad Smith and Russell Simmons.
“Every child should have access to art and creativity in school. No matter what career path they choose, this creative play sets them up to trust their instincts, believe in themselves and to solve problems,” says Gehry. “I was afforded this as a child, and it changed my life.”
Turnaround Arts CA is unique in the nation due to the fact that they are working with schools throughout the entire state, not just one region. These are schools that are located in both urban and rural areas and that have a high level of student diversity. The ten schools chosen for the California are located in varying geographic areas across the state and selected based on criteria that placed them within the required 5 percent range of the most challenged in the country. School locations include Kings, San Bernardino, Alameda, San Diego, Los Angeles, Monterey, Humboldt, Jan Joaquin and Contra Costa counties. The superintendants and principles of each school also flew to Washington, D.C. for the launch ceremonies.
It has been proven that by placing the arts as the heart and soul of a school, leadership and teachers are provided with powerful tools in professional learning, curriculum development, improving school climate and culture, as well as increasing student and parent engagement that ultimately contributes to improved academic achievement and the successful turnaround of a failing school.
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the positive effect of arts engagement on students. This is particularly important in a state like California where the arts play a significant role in the “creative economy.”
“This isn’t about bringing painting or music lessons to an already failing school and hoping for new and improved outcomes,” says Dr. James Catterall, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Director of the Centers for Research on Creativity. “This is about the arts as ways of thinking, problem solving, and creative design.”
Catterall goes on to note that, “There is substantial evidence that learning in the arts promotes many skills including reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Just as important, the arts boost engagement in school, students’ sense of agency, self-confidence, collaboration skills, and even pro-social behavior and empathy. If schools embark on turnarounds, why not promote a full spectrum of qualities we’d like to see in our children.”
The Turnaround Arts program successes are based around specific pillars. These include school principal leadership; the use of arts specialists to customize strategic tactics to be used by non-arts classroom teachers in core curricula; using teaching artists and community organizations to engage students; designing professional development for the teaching staff; and improving the school environment overall.
The initial funding for Turnaround Arts CA was generously provided by the California Arts Council, with additional funding by Eisner Foundation, Frank Gehry, Herb Alpert Foundation, Nigel Lythgoe, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, Rosenthal Family Foundation and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Turnaround Arts CA is also a new partner of CREATE CA (http://www.createca.net).
For more information about the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities:
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First Lady Michelle Obama to Officiate at White House Ceremonies Which Will Stream Live on http://www.whitehouse.gov/live, May 20, 2014 at 2:30 PM Eastern
AVAILABLE FOR LIVE OR TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS IN LOS ANGELES:
- Frank Gehry, World-Renowned Architect, artist mentor, Turnaround Arts CA investor
- Tim Robbins, Academy Award-winning actor, screenwriter, director, producer, musician and Turnaround Arts CA supporter and artist mentor
- Dr. James Catterall, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Director of the Centers for Research on Creativity, Turnaround Arts CA supporter and advisor
- Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Executive Director, Turnaround Arts CA
- Wylie Aitken, Chair, California Arts Council
- Various California School Superintendents and Principals from the 10 chosen schools participating in the Turnaround Arts CA program