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Mayor Walsh Announces $1.5 Million Arts Education Grant for Boston Public Schools

December 11, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

BOSTON - Friday, December 11, 2015 - Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative has been awarded $1.5 million in grant funding from The Wallace Foundation to support their continuing expansion of arts education.

"I am honored that The Wallace Foundation has chosen to invest in our ongoing effort to increase the presence of quality arts education in the Boston Public Schools," said Mayor Walsh. "Through the Boston Creates cultural planning process, we are not only enriching the lives of our young people, but we are working towards ensuring a future where art will play a pivotal role in Boston's cultural landscape."  

The grant will support EdVestors and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in their work to implement new approaches to arts instruction, curriculum and professional development for teachers, partnership coordination, and student and family engagement. The money will directly support the continuation of EdVestors' successful partnership with BPS through the work of the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative. This newest grant follows more than $4.8 million the foundation has invested in BPS Arts Expansion since the initiative began.  

Launched in 2009 as a public/private collaboration between the Boston Public Schools, EdVestors, local and national funders, and arts and cultural organizations, BPS Arts Expansion is an ongoing effort to expand arts education in schools across Boston. Since 2009, the number of Boston students in preschool through eighth grade that receive weekly, year-long arts education increased from 67 to 93 percent and access to arts education for high school students has more than doubled, reaching 17,000 additional students.  

"It's exciting to see the continued growth of the Arts Expansion Initiative thanks to the enormous generosity of our community partners," said Boston School Committee Chair Michael O'Neill. "We have seen how critical it is to our academic achievement that the arts be integrated in all our work. I am grateful for The Wallace Foundation and EdVestors for their ongoing partnership."

"The BPS Arts Expansion effort is an excellent model of true public/private partnership that is benefiting students in the Boston Public Schools," said Dr. Tommy Chang, superintendent of BPS. "Our schools are focusing on the arts in a way that they never have thanks in large part to our partnership with private donors, and our students are reaping the rewards of that generosity."  

The initiative has spurred an increase in public funds supporting arts education, from $15 million annually in 2009 through the Boston Public Schools budget to $26 million this school year. These funds chiefly support BPS Arts Teachers, the ranks of which have grown by 120 additional teachers over the past six years. The initiative also supports community-based arts organizations who partner with Boston Public Schools to further expand the range of arts offerings available for students. In addition to The Wallace Foundation, local funders of this effort include the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation and the Linde Family Foundation, among others.  

"We know high-quality arts education provides important benefits to students - from exposure to new perspectives, to helping them learn how to learn," said Daniel Windham, director of Arts at The Wallace Foundation.  "Boston has made substantial progress in improving access to arts education for all students, and we are pleased to join local foundations to help sustain the progress made."  

"EdVestors has been honored to partner with the Boston Public Schools and our funders to make these increases in access to quality arts learning opportunities possible," said Laura Perille of EdVestors. "The combined efforts of principals, teachers, nonprofit partners, and foundations all focused on a student-focused goal prove what's possible when stakeholders come together."