Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser
The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC has picked Sacramento as the first city to participate in its major new arts education program.
It’s intended to offer an arts curriculum to every Sacramento student from kindergarten through eighth grade. For example, the Sacramento ballet might work with one grade level and the symphony with another.
Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser says the goal is make an arts education more constant and systematic – instead of the haphazard way it’s taught now.
Kaiser: “If a third grade teacher loves the arts, he or she might bring the class to many different arts experiences. Then those same children go to the fourth grade. And if the fourth grade teacher doesn’t love the arts or doesn’t know about the arts, then the children get no arts exposures. We don’t teach any other subject that way.”
All of the city’s school districts are participating in the program, as are the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, local organizations and Mayor Kevin Johnson’s new arts initiative.
Under the program, Kennedy Center staff will audit Sacramento’s schools over the next six months, then work with arts organizations to craft a curriculum that would start next fall.
The center wants other cities to join the program once it gets started.