ArtsWave and Cincinnati Public Schools have teamed up on an initiative to ensure grade-school students receive exposure to world-class art performances and education.
The More Arts, More Kids program aims to provide all CPS students grades 1-6 with an annual arts field trip. To kick off the program, a group of 2,500 CPS third graders attended daytime performances of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of “SpongeBob The Musical: Youth Edition” on Oct. 17 at the Taft Theatre.
After the show, Shy’Fear Jackson, a student at Ethel M. Taylor Academy in Millvale, spoke about themes of friendship and “to be there for each other.” His favorite part was the music.
“It was cool,” he said, noting that he could see himself “singing, dancing, performing, playing music” in a musical someday.
Other arts experiences part of this year’s pilot programs includes a visual art field trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum for all fourth graders, funded by Florence Koetters; and a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Young People’s Concert at Music Hall for some of the district’s first graders.
In upcoming school years, CPS will add more grade levels, giving a total of 50,000 kids a chance to take part in one of these trips over the course of the multi-year pilot.
“These trips not only provide students exposure to our amazing arts institutions but also connect them to a larger world of people, places and ideas,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave’s president and CEO.
CPS leaders link exposure and connection to the arts with helping students develop social-emotional skills such as tolerance and empathy. The district listed stats showing a correlation between students going on arts field trips to increased school engagement and higher performances on end-of-grade standardized tests.
“Cincinnati Public Schools is committed to expanding its cultural experiences in the arts for all students and this is a positive step in the right direction,” said Iranetta Rayborn Wright, CPS Superintendent and CEO. “Our longtime partnership with ArtsWave provides a direct pathway for our students to engage in local arts programming, thus furthering our goal to give our students a well-rounded education that nurtures creativity, ignites innovation and enriches their lives.”
The More Arts, More Kids program addresses ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action goal of fueling student creativity and learning through the Arts. To achieve that goal, the funding organization invests in arts education to benefit children, particularly those who may be underserved.
More Arts, More Kids received partial funding through donors to ArtsWave’s 2023 Community Campaign. It plans to continue seeking funds for the program next year.
“We’re thrilled to partner with CPS to offer their students the benefits of engaging with arts programming regardless of their socio-economic status,” Kintner said.