I am so excited.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen the Portland metropolitan area as their third partner community for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will use existing resources of four Portland-area school districts currently collaborating in The Right Brain Initiative (Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, and Portland), along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the community. The partnership will be coordinated locally by The Regional Arts & Culture Council.

The Regional Arts and Culture Council

This is such great news: Great news for Portland Public Schools, The Right Brain Initiative, Portland artists the Regional Arts and Culture Council, plus the Kennedy Center.

I did a job shadow with the great people at The Right Brain Initiative/Young Audiences office late this March and I fell in-love with their organization, which is partly why I’m so excited about this new initiative  between the Kennedy Center, RBI, RACC and Portland Public schools.

The Right Brain Initiative (RBI) is a non-profit organization that has created a partnership between public schools, local governments, businesses and foundations, and the cultural community which launched its programming in Portland area classrooms in January 2009. The program’s goal is to achieve a measurable impact on learning by integrating the community’s arts and cultural resources into the education of every K-8 student in the Portland metropolitan region’s school districts. The Right Brain Initiative is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, with Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington serving as Implementation Partner. For more information visit, or their blog RBI

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was founded in 1971 with the intent to “contribute to the human spirit,” serve as a memorial to President Kennedy and functions as the nation’s busiest arts facility. By promoting and nurturing young artists and new works, creating performances and broadcasts, the center is also the nation’s leader in arts education. Their art program Any Given Child attempts to provide an equitable art and culture aspect to a child’s education by combining the resources of school districts, local arts foundations and the Kennedy Center.

I personally believe that arts education is fundamental to any child’s standard education. Organizations like the Kennedy Center and RBI have put these programs into place because studies show that an education rich with art and culture improves overall material retention in the classroom, as well as improved literacy. Check out RBI’s progress report, their first year evaluation of their implemented program in the schools, for a closer look at the effects of just a week long arts program on students learning.


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