New 42 Receives $750,000 Grant to Launch New Arts Education Program
The New 42nd Street receives a five-year, $750,000 Arts Education Impact Grant from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation to launch a rigorous new arts education program entitled "Schools with the Performing Arts Reach Kids," or New Victory SPARK (SPARK). Designed for arts-deprived New York City public schools, SPARK will introduce live performing arts to students, teachers and families in a customized and intensive arts education program via the resources and programs of the New Victory Education Department. In collaboration with research firm WolfBrown, SPARK will measure the intrinsic impact of students' experiences with the performing arts and the schools' success over time.
Cora Cahan, President of The New 42nd Street, says, "Thanks to the enlightened generosity of The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, which shares our understanding of the importance of the arts in forming the citizens, decision-makers and innovators of the future, The New Victory will now be able to devote even more time and resources to providing performing arts programs to our city's schools."
Structured as a multi-year program tailored to address specific issues and opportunities facing each school community, New Victory SPARK will partner with the NYC Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects to select designated schools where arts opportunities are currently lacking. "There is potential for deep buy-in and commitment from school staff and students. We are confident that this partnership with the New Victory team will affect tangible change in these selected schools. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and we look forward to the collaboration it will engender," comments Paul King, Executive Director for the Office of the Arts and Special Projects.
Throughout the five years, The New Victory will work with WolfBrown and lead researcher Dennie Wolf, to measure and analyze the effect of live performance and associated arts education on young people to fully understand the impact of this new initiative on school communities. "We so often articulate the value of the arts only as social or even economic instruments, but this study with The New Victory Theater will be the first of its kind to understand and quantify how young people make meaning, take pleasure and experience emotional and intellectual stimulation from watching and engaging with the performing arts," says Alan Brown, the author of an expansive two-year study called "Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre" who will serve as an advisor to the research. By involving teachers and artists in a bold, participatory research design, The New Victory Theater and WolfBrown will insure that even early findings strengthen the New Vic programs and enhance their impact.
As a recipient of the Foundation's Impact Grant, The New 42nd Street will receive $150,000 a year for five consecutive years, or until 2017. Over the full term of the Matisse grant, an anticipated 1,800 New York City students and 130 teachers from previously arts-deprived schools will engage with the cultural learning and critical thinking opportunities that kids in other New York City schools receive as a matter of course. Utilizing the resources of the New Victory Education Department, including live performances by international arts companies, a highly trained teaching artist ensemble and collaboratively developed curricula, SPARK will also offer family engagement in students' learning via invited performances to the theater and shared participation in arts-based activities. Says Alessandra Carnielli, Executive Director of The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, "The New 42nd Street Proposal was reviewed by a specially convened panel of experts in the field of arts and education and was commended for its clarity of vision and design, and for the program's evident endorsement of the intrinsic benefit of the arts."
New Victory SPARK will begin in the 2013-2014 school year following an application and review process of New York City public elementary and middle schools. SPARK will identify one elementary school and one middle school to work with directly and their corresponding 3rd grade and 6th grade classes will become the initial participants in the program. The long-term goal of this program is to establish viable, multi-faceted, and sustainable performing arts education programs in ten arts-poor schools over five years with the aim of continuing the program beyond the five-year startup period and reaching more schools in subsequent years.