April 16, 2009
Arts for Youth:
PHILADELPHIA – A partnership of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) and the Fleisher Art Memorial has been selected to lead the Arts for Children and Youth of Greater Philadelphia initiative. The team will pursue a ten-year goal of bringing arts learning opportunities to all children and youth in the Greater Philadelphia region. Arts for Youth will strive to support and coordinate high quality arts learning offerings, both in and out of school, and to ensure equity, access, and diversity in the programming.
“The Philadelphia Education Fund recognizes the arts as an important education reform tool. We are pleased to be partnering with PCCY and the Fleisher Art Memorial to ensure access to the arts for ALL children, both in school and out of school, and pleased to help shape an arts initiative that is a worthwhile investment in our children and in our regional economy,” said Carol Fixman, Executive Director of the Education Fund.
The Wallace Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation, and the Nutter Inaugural Committee have cumulatively contributed $1.405 million for this work. The start up two-year budget is projected to be $2 million.
“In reopening the Office of Cultural Affairs and including “Creative Economy” in the new title, Mayor Nutter acknowledged that the arts are not just an important part of a high quality education, but they are also vital to remaining competitive in the 21st century economy. By giving the children of Greater Philadelphia the opportunity to develop skills like creativity and reflective practice, Arts for Youth is an investment in our workforce,” said Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer.
The selection of the Ed Fund/PCCY/Fleisher partnership was the result of a year-long process that engaged community stakeholders, school officials, cultural organizations, and potential funders. More than 150 community members participated in conversations about how to leverage the great cultural wealth of Philadelphia to benefit the region’s children. After a highly competitive RFP process, the Ed Fund/PCCY/Fleisher team was selected to lead the ongoing effort. The OMG Center for Collaborative Learning facilitated and staffed the community engagement and selection processes.
The team’s proposal asked the selection committee to “Imagine a city and region that commits to the arts as a key tool in transforming communities and keeping youth engaged and successful in and out of school… giving students the opportunity to participate in a thriving economy in which the skills of imagination and innovation are valued.” By creating and coordinating an arts education delivery system in partnership with schools, arts organizations, after school providers, funders, etc. and by building a citywide and eventually a regional coalition of stakeholders, the leadership team will make that vision a reality in Greater Philadelphia.
A formal press event to present the Arts for Youth leadership team to the community will be announced in the near future.
Philadelphia Education Fund is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education for underserved youth throughout the Philadelphia region. www.philaedfund.org
Public Citizens for Children and Youth is the region’s major child advocacy organization, and has been working for over 25 years to improve the lives and life chances of our region’s children through thoughtful and informed advocacy. PCCY runs the Picasso Project which increases arts education opportunities for students in the School District of Philadelphia and improves the capacity of schools to provide arts education experiences. www.pccy.org
Fleisher Art Memorial is a community-based art center with a 100+ year history of making art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience. Fleisher is well known for its in-school and after-school arts education programming for youth. www.fleisher.org
OMG Center for Collaborative Learning is a research and consulting organization that provides evaluation, strategy research and development, and capacity building services to the philanthropic, non-profits, and government sectors. www.omgcenter.org