NEA Grant to Create "Open Stage"
Pasadena Educational Foundation Awarded NEA Grant to
Develop“Open Stage”A Community-Based Performing Arts
Program for PUSD Students
The Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) has been selected for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works award of $79,500 to develop a community-based performing arts program titled “Open Stage” for the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD.) The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.
“’Open Stage’ is based in part on the success of ‘My Masterpieces: Discovering Art in My Community’ which was developed by PEF, PUSD, and ten Pasadena museums and visual arts organizations in 2008 and now serves all PUSD Kindergarten through 6th grade students,” explains Patrick Conyers, Executive Director of Pasadena Educational Foundation. “Our public schools are strengthened by arts partnerships, and we are excited to build upon past successes that have increased students’ access to the arts.”
Open Stage will expand the opportunities that PUSD currently offers students in grades 6-12 to experience and express themselves through the performing arts, whether as audiences, as performers, or through the development of their own original work. Open Stage will take advantage of the ample resources the Pasadena community offers – regionally and nationally-renowned theatre companies, dance ensembles, musical organizations, and innovative independent artist/educators -- to enrich and enhance performing arts instruction in the district. It will involve a network of partners from the Pasadena Playhouse to Lineage Dance Company to Pasadena Symphony and Pops in planning and implementation.
New programs will be piloted at select schools in the 2017-18 school year, and then expanded on an annual basis until every PUSD middle and high school is offering an array of experiences in a variety of art forms, both during the regular school day and after school. The goal is for all students to be able to deepen their understanding of diverse music, theater, and dance. Many students will also discover their talents, develop their skills, and find their individual voices.
“We are extremely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for recognizing the strengths of our district and our arts community. Through this grant and the support of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, we will accelerate arts learning opportunities for our students and support their development as 21st-century learners,” remarks PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald.
PEF’s grant was one of only seven awarded in the entire country in the NEA’s Arts Education Collective Impact category in the most recent round of funding. The concept behind Collective Impact is that by working in partnership, organizations and individuals can tackle and solve complex problems more effectively that they can by working alone. Since 2015, the NEA Arts Education Collective Impact grants have supported major projects that embrace cross-sector partnerships, data, planning, programming, and shared evaluation.