Building upon its longstanding commitment to ensuring all Boston Public School (BPS) students have access to a high-quality arts education, EdVestors this week announced over $400,000 in arts expansion grants that will support nearly 75 schools working with more than 35 arts partners across the city – including four Charlestown schools.
In Charlestown, four grants went to local schools, including Charlestown High School, Harvard Kent School, Warren Prescott School and Eliot K-8. The arts partner for Harvard Kent is Community Center of Boston; Warren Prescott the Boston Conservatory of Berklee; and the Eliot K-8 is North End Music and Performing Arts Center.
These grants for the 2021-2022 school year take on new significance in light of results of a longitudinal study released last month detailing the benefits of arts education, including increased student and parent engagement and improved attendance for all students.
“These critical grants will ensure that students have continued access to high-quality arts programs, which will be more important than ever as we promote joyful learning environments to support students’ recovery next fall,” said Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. “When students permanently return to the classroom after more than a year of disrupted learning, arts instruction will play a pivotal role in helping them re-engage with their peers, teachers, and school communities and will improve their social-emotional skill development and overall well-being.”
Last month, EdVestors released a study entitled “The Arts Advantage: Impacts of Arts Education on Boston Students,” which examined the positive impacts arts education has had through more than 600,000 K-12 student-level observations over 11 school years, 2008-2009 through 2018-2019. Such granular data will be invaluable to policymakers and school districts as they make decisions on allocating funding for the arts – both in the long-term and in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
“The new research reinforces the purpose of our ongoing BPS Arts Expansion initiative and confirms what we’ve witnessed firsthand over the years. Arts education is a powerful motivator for students to want to attend and engage at school and enables them to express themselves and succeed in ways they often don’t in other subjects,” said Marinell Rousmaniere, President and CEO of EdVestors. “Thanks to our core funders and dedicated partners, we are embarking on the 13th year of BPS Arts Expansion, with the continued goal of increasing equitable access to quality arts education for all of Boston’s public school students.”
Since its inception in 2009, BPS Arts Expansion has leveraged increased public funding for arts teaching positions in BPS schools, resulting in nearly 17,000 additional students receiving arts instruction during the school day. BPS arts educators working in partnership with community-based teaching artists and organizations have made this work possible. The initiative continues to focus on expanding access to equitable arts education and deepening arts experiences, while building systems to sustain a high level of arts education long into the future.
Core donors include the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, The Klarman Family Foundation and Linde Family Foundation. Notably, there has been a significant 5:1 return of increased public investment for every private dollar invested through BPS Arts Expansion. More information on BPS Arts Expansion is available at http://www.bpsarts.org.