The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Announces Fresno, California as Partner City for Any Given Child Program Creates a Long-Range Arts Education Plan for Students Grades K-8

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) —The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen Fresno, California as the 10th city for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will incorporate existing resources of the Fresno Unified School District, along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the city. The city joins partnerships in Sacramento, California; Springfield, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Southern Nevada; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Sarasota, Florida; Austin, Texas; Iowa City, Iowa and Baltimore, Maryland.

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 district, 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 school district and community.

“A consistent arts education improves students’ intellectual, personal, and social development,” said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “I commend Mayor Swearengin, Superintendent Hanson, and Superintendent Powell for their commitment to provide students in Fresno with a strong foundation in the arts. The Kennedy Center wants to ensure that every child receives a solid, meaningful arts education from kindergarten through eighth grade.”
“We’re extremely grateful to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for selecting Fresno for this important program,” Mayor Ashley Swearengin said. “Fresno is blessed with a vibrant arts community, one that understands how art improves the quality of life in a community and also recognizes and supports arts education for our students. The Any Given Child program will help us take our arts efforts to the next level. We expect the program to provide benefits not just for our students, but for our entire community as well.”
“It’s gratifying to be part of a dynamic program that that will bring equity and access in the arts to all K-8 students,” said Larry L. Powell, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. “Our community pledges its unwavering support to Fresno Unified, and with groups like the Fresno Arts Network, representing over 250 arts organizations, educators, and community members, I’m confident the selection of Fresno, California as a partner city for Any Given Child will exceed all expectations.”

“Fresno Unified continues to place a strong emphasis on educating students in the arts thanks to our Board’s leadership, despite these fiscally challenging times,” said Michael Hanson, Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District. “Research shows that infusing arts education into the curriculum positively affects students’ understanding of concepts in other academic subjects as well as their attitudes and behaviors. Fresno Unified is excited to partner with the Kennedy Center and the Any Given Child Initiative to establish and develop a solid K-8 arts plan that will not only allow every student access to the arts, but to open their hearts and minds to the world in ways that supports their success in the 21st century workplace. We look forward to the benefits of working with the citywide committee of arts organizations, artists, business partners, philanthropists, and various community arts supporters to come together for our children.”

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

During phase two of the program, a community committee makes recommendations to the school district and local arts groups on how best to implement the recently created long range plan, focusing on increasing arts opportunities for K-8 students. In addition, educators and artists can 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, professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and many others. 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.

In 2009, the Kennedy Center and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the first formal Any Given Child program in Sacramento, California and immediately began the resource assessment phase of the program in October of that year. Nine other cities followed, and many have seen improvements during the implementation phase. Sacramento added artist residencies in select schools and provided arts experiences for all students K-8 in the two participating school districts. In the first year of implementation in Portland, Oregon, 11,300 students in 23 schools had at least one arts-related experience. During the first year of the program’s work in Southern Nevada, every student at the 14 elementary schools participating in Any Given Child received weekly, sequential instruction in visual art and music throughout the school year. Over 5,000 students in Southern Nevada in grades 5-8 attended live theatrical, dance, and musical performances. The Kennedy Center is accepting applications for new sites to join Any Given Child between January 1 and March 31 of each year for a program start in the fall of the same year.

Education at the Kennedy Center
As the national center for the performing arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is committed to increasing opportunities for all people to participate in and understand the arts. To fulfill that mission, the Kennedy Center strives to commission, create, design, produce, and/or present performances and programs of the highest standard of excellence and of a diversity that reflects the world in which we live—and to make those performances and programs accessible and inclusive.
Education at the Kennedy Center includes resources from its presentations and productions and those of its affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra, VSA (the international arts and disability organization), and Washington National Opera. The focus, locally and nationally, is on producing and presenting age appropriate performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based programs that directly impact teachers, students, artists, and school and arts administrators through professional development; systemic and school improvement through arts integrated curricula, inclusive classrooms, and universal design in facilities and learning; creating partnerships around the issues of arts education and arts integrated education; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; developing careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations.

Any Given Child, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.

This program is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support provided by David Gregory and Beth Wilkinson; the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts; and the U.S. Department of Education.

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