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Announcing “Culture Club-Portland” A New Arts Education Collaboration Between The Portland Museum of Art, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Portland Ovations and Portland Stage
Portland, Maine – Four major Portland arts organizations are partnering on a new educational initiative to connect students to the arts. Culture Club-Portland is a collaborative program between the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Portland Ovations and Portland Stage to deliver accessible, consistent, diverse, high quality arts experiences to students. Funded by an anonymous donor, the goal of Culture Club-Portland is to provide consistent access to the partnering institutions and their programs to every K-12 student in the Portland Public School district to build a lifelong relationship with the arts and to embrace these vital resources. As Mark Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art, states: “Donors are always eager to see organizations collaborate with one another, and this partnership is an ideal way for us to work together on an educational initiative which we strongly support.”
The anonymous donor is a Portland resident who has been tremendously supportive of the arts and has offered to support Culture Club-Portland through the first three years of the program in order to allow the partnering organizations time to focus on building a great program rather than worrying about fundraising.
Culture Club-Portland will advance arts education and make Portland Public Schools a model for other districts. The project will inspire students by providing them access to quality arts and will build community by making the arts and these institutions a consistent part of students’ lives. As Anita Stewart, Executive & Artistic Director at Portland Stage, states: “Culture Club is new not just to Portland but nationally as well. We are working to develop a program model that can be replicated by other cities around the country. We are thankful that an individual has stepped forward to help us realize this visionary project.”
The partnering organizations believe that losing the arts in education is devastating to our culture, our community and our future. As organizations bringing high quality art and artists into our community, they recognize their potential to impact the learning environment of students in public schools. As Aimée Petrin, Executive Director of Portland Ovations, states: “Over the past decade, we have seen funding for arts in education continue to fall while study after study details how this loss of funding is contributing to a decline in student ability across all disciplines. Culture Club is a way we can help impact arts learning and have a positive effect on the entire learning experience.”
Culture Club-Portland will ensure that each student in the Portland Public School district can participate in at least one program per year offered by each of the partners, resulting in each student in the district having four unique arts experiences every year— Every Child, Every Year. As Lisa Dixon, Executive Director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, states: “Through this program students currently in Kindergarten will have the opportunity to participate in 13 art events with each of the four partnering organizations, building a strong connection to these arts institutions as a part of their lives.”
Portland Education Foundation, a foundation focused on supporting the Portland Public Schools, is administering Culture Club-Portland for the 2012 school year. “The Portland Education Foundation is pleased to help connect the schools with our vibrant arts community through this innovative and exciting program,” says Mary Gross, PEF board president.
David Galin, chief academic officer for Portland Public Schools, echoes this enthusiasm: “Portland Public Schools welcomes the opportunity provided through Culture Club- Portland for our students to build on the wonderfully rich cultural opportunities in the city.”
Culture Club-Portland commences September 2012 in conjunction with the new school year. In the first year of Culture Club-Portland, the partnering arts organizations plan to reach 50% of the Portland Public School population through the program. In the second year, they anticipate reaching 75% of the population with 100% participation reached in the third year.
About the Partner Institutions’ Education Programs:
The Portland Museum of Art offers K-5 students Focus Tours featuring sketching activities, storytelling, and gallery games designed to connect students with works of art in the Museum’s collection and exhibitions. Focus Tours are grade specific. Students in grades 6-8 are invited to participate in Access PMA tours, curriculum-based tours inspired by the Museum’s 19th-century American art collections connecting social studies, language arts, and visual arts. Students in grades 9-12 can take part in Art in Process tours, which focus on the creative process, connecting art to other classroom disciplines as well as other art forms. All PMA school tours feature online lessons and suggested assessments.
Portland Ovations’ School-Time Performance Series connects Maine students and educators with the performing arts in significant ways both on and offstage. Performances, study guides, and web-based resources complement existing curriculum, connect to Maine Common Core State Standards and promote arts integration in our schools, communities, and alternative learning spaces. Performances include nationally
and internationally acclaimed dance, theater, and music presented at Merrill Auditorium and Hannaford Hall.
Portland Stage provides students and teachers with access to professionally produced theater through grade-appropriate programming both in school and at our facility. Play Me a Story is an interactive, literature-based, school outreach performance/workshop program that connects elementary school students to theater while teaching literacy. Early Show performances bring middle and high school students to Portland Stage for Mainstage productions which connect to Common Core Standards through post-show discussions with artists and in-depth show-specific resource guides, plus exposure to the art and magic of professional theater.
The Portland Symphony Orchestra offers grades K-3 KinderKonzert ensemble performances, brought directly into each elementary school along with online pre-concert materials for teachers. For students in grades 3-6, attendance is available at one of four morning Youth Concerts at Merrill Auditorium along with online pre-concert materials for teachers. Students in grades 5-12 are also invited to attend one of several daytime Open Dress Rehearsals at Merrill Auditorium.
For more information, you can contact the executive directors of each of the organizations:
Mark Bessire, Portland Museum of Art: portlandmuseum.org
Aimée Petrin, Portland Ovations: 207/773.3150
Anita Stewart, Portland Stage: 207/774.1043 ext 106
Lisa Dixon, Portland Symphony Orchestra: 207/773.6128 ext. 303
To register for any of the programs, Portland Public School teachers should contact:
Portland Museum of Art: email@example.com
Portland Ovations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Stage: email@example.com; or firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Symphony Orchestra: email@example.com
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