Dear Friends of Arts to Grow:
A lot has happened since I last wrote you in June. We’ve expanded programs and have some exciting organizational developments. I’m happy to share our latest news.
Since our programs began one year ago, Arts to Grow has expanded from three to twelve visual and performing arts classes. This fall, we are working with over 200 children in grades K-8 at six different schools and community organizations in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Hoboken, NJ. We are working with kids of all ethnic backgrounds who have little opportunity for participating in arts learning within their existing schools and out-of-school time activities. Our programs reach kids where they are and offer them the opportunity to learn from experienced teaching artists in a community of learners where each student’s participation is their own choice.
This fall we have begun programs with two new partners: The Riverdale Neighborhood House (RNH) in the Bronx; and the Future Leaders Institute Charter School (FLI) in Harlem. We are proud to be partnering with such strong, diverse programs serving kids with little access to quality education.
Our partnership at RNH involves 17 students in grades 3-6 who are participating in a theater arts class. The RNH after-school program focuses on the needs of working families. When school is in session, neighborhood public school children in grades K-6 participate in structured recreation and homework assistance. RNH provides a comprehensive year-round program. The curriculum emphasizes literacy with the goal of instilling a love and appreciation for reading.
We are offering seven visual arts classes to students in grades 1-8 as part of our partnership with the FLI Enrichment Program. This program is an integral part of the school’s extended day philosophy in which school is in session until 5:00pm Monday-Thursday.
The school’s philosophy is built on the importance of offering inner-city students a high-expectations learning environment that prepares them for college.
FLI works with children and families in Harlem who face the greatest inequalities within the public education system. Of FLI’s 300 students (K-8), 99% are children of color and 80% of the students’ families qualify for free and reduced meals at school.
We held our first annual teaching artist training in September for our current roster of eight teaching artists. The training was lead by Arts to Grow’s program coordinator, Sara Lise Raff and held at EmcArts Inc. who contributed their space for this event. Teaching artists participated in a fast-paced, intensive, three-hour long training session focusing on lesson planning, classroom management, and ATG’s philosophy of learning through the arts. The session received rave reviews from our teaching artists and was a rewarding experience for all involved.
Arts to Grow officially changed our logo and tagline in July, 2006. We are immensely grateful for the wonderful pro-bono services of Designlounge, Inc. who created the new logo and identity materials. Our new tagline highlights our core principles – to offer kids opportunities to engage in the creative process as a means of becoming creative problem solvers, independent thinkers, and confident learners. To find out more about our core principles, please read the document attached to this e-mail.
To build the resources needed to reach more kids, we’ve been working with potential partners who would like to bring Arts to Grow’s programs to their sites. In the past few months, we have collaborated on grant proposals with the Academy Firehouse, Newark, NJ on a grant proposal to the Essex County Local Arts Grant Program, and with the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County, NJ – Hoboken site, on a grant proposal to the Target Foundation. We are currently working with the Elysian Charter School to target potential sources of support for our on-going partnership.
Thank you for your interest and support. We welcome your feedback and comments. Arts to Grow’s success depends on the involvement of supporters, partners and friends. We couldn’t do it without you.
Arts to Grow