Thursday, February 17, 2005

Kennedy Center Commits $125 Million to Arts Education

This news release from the Kennedy Center just crossed my desk:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 16, 2005

THE JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
COMMITS $125 MILLION FOR ARTS EDUCATION


Five Year Plan Calls for Innovative Uses of Internet, Ticket Discounts for Teachers,
New Family Theater and a new outreach program with Music Theatre International And Disney Theatricals Productions

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Michael M. Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, announced today that the Center will devote $125 million to performing arts education over the next five years. The funds will be directed to a number of new initiatives and expansion of current programs that currently reach more than 11 million people in all 50 states.

“Arts education can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of children and adults,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman of the Kennedy Center. “The national scope of this unprecedented financial commitment to arts education befits the nation’s cultural center and should provide the best in arts education to all Americans.”

The central focus of the Kennedy Center’s education programming is on the classroom. Numerous programs and resources are provided to students and teachers to introduce the arts into the classroom. Complementing these programs are music and theater performances mounted in Washington, D.C. and on tour, and training programs for young talented performers. Most recently, the Kennedy Center has created a range of programs to enhance the skills of managers of arts organizations in the United States and abroad.

The Kennedy Center’s education programs address four distinct areas: family and children’s performances, arts and schools, career development for aspiring professionals and arts management training.


Family and Children’s Performances:

The Kennedy Center is devoted to commissioning, presenting and touring the best of family and children’s theater, dance and music. New programming plans include:

· Family Theater. A new 320-seat theater designed to house performances for young people and their families will open at the Kennedy Center in December 2005.

· Jazz Web Site. Building on the extensive Kennedy Center jazz programming, an expansive new web site will include jazz performances, interviews, oral histories, web discussions and exhibitions on jazz history.

· New Visions, New Voices International. A bi-annual symposium on developing plays for young people will now include theater companies from around the world.


Arts and Schools:

The heart of the Kennedy Center’s education programming is the classroom. A series of programs bring artists into the classroom in person, via computer and satellite technology. A substantial effort is made to train and to provide resources to teachers to help them bring arts into the classroom. New programming plans include:

· Teacher Discount. In an effort to encourage teachers to experience the arts, every teacher in the United States will receive a 15% discount on tickets at the Kennedy Center. This will take effect on April 1, 2005.

· Kennedy Center’s Arts On-line. A web-based performing arts experience for children and adults. Age appropriate displays reveal the history of the performing arts in America and allow users to learn about backstage life through exhibitions, performances and interactive activities.

· Distance Learning on Broadband. The Center’s efforts to distribute educational programming to students in classrooms across America will expand by using broadband technology that will increase exponentially the number of students who can access these programs.

· ArtsEdge Enhancements. Internet-based interactive arts programs are being created for students and teachers on the Kennedy Center’s education website. For example, the Martha Graham program can currently be accessed at www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/marthagraham

· Internet 2. The Center will work with a group of universities, industries and government agencies that are creating tomorrow’s Internet. The Center will integrate a comprehensive arts program into this new initiative.

· Rehearsal Commentary. A new program has recently been tested that provides ballet commentary by dance experts to student groups during a rehearsal using an infrared listening system.

· Musicals in the Schools. A new program in development will provide opportunities for grade school students to create musical productions. The Center will work with Music Theatre International and Disney Theatrical Productions to create musicals for children and to provide assistance and professional development for teachers who wish to mount these musicals. Pre- and post-evaluation and assessment of students is being built into the program.


Career Development for Aspiring Professionals:

The Kennedy Center provides training to young musicians, conductors and dancers. Expansions to these programs include:

· Conservatory Project Expansion. The Center’s program for developing and presenting young talent from the nation’s leading music conservatories will expand to include more music schools.

· Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell International. An annual dancer training program run by one of America’s greatest ballerinas will expand to include young dancers from China and other nations.

· Jazz Ahead International. Young jazz musicians from around the world will now have the opportunity to study performing, composing and arranging with leading jazz professionals.

· Summer Music Institute International. A summer program that allows student musicians to study with National Symphony Orchestra musicians will expand to include students from all over the world.

· Dance Theatre of Harlem Professional Development Program. An on-going project to bring dance into the community will expand and redirect its focus to emphasize professional training, targeting students with the talent and passion for professional careers.


Arts Management Training:

Over the past four years, the Kennedy Center has initiated programs that train aspiring and professional arts managers. New programming plans include:

· Board Training. This new initiative will offer board members of arts organizations across the country the opportunity to obtain the knowledge required to guide their organizations.

· Arts Management Web Site. A new website will be established that allows arts managers around the world to participate in web discussions, explore case histories and receive online consulting assistance.

“The Center’s arts education programs are a cornerstone of this institution’s activities,” said Darrell Ayers, Vice President for Education “In the last 34 years, the need for arts education programming has only intensified, and the Kennedy Center has responded with comprehensive and focused programs that serve the nation, and, now, the world.”

Virtually every education program, apart from ticketed performances, are offered free of charge to all participants.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy. The Center has seven theaters and stages and is the nation’s busiest performing arts facility with audiences totaling two million; Center-related touring productions, television and radio broadcasts welcome 20 million more.

Now in its 34th season, the Center presents the greatest examples of music, dance and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Center’s achievements as a commissioner, producer and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in more than 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas and musical works.

As part of the Kennedy Center’s Performing Arts for Everyone, outreach program, the Center and the National Symphony Orchestra stage more than 400 free performances of music, dance and theater by artists from throughout the world each year on the Center’s main stages, and every evening at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage. The Center also offers the nation’s largest Specially Priced Tickets program for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, military personnel and others with fixed low incomes.

For more information about the Kennedy Center visit www.kennedy-center.org.

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