December 5, 2014

DOE New Arts Initiative

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Updates on the new Department of Education arts and schools partnership initiatives

By Jenny Clarke

Here is a brief update on the city’s new arts education initiative. These are the initiatives that were presented by Paul King at the Roundtable event in September. Click here for a summary from the September 23 event.

♦ Recipients of the Arts and Family Engagement program were announced on February 5, 2015. For this first cycle of Arts and Family Engagement grants, 26 schools will receive grants totaling more than $75,000 in the 2014-15 school year. Awardees were selected from 55 applications received from schools throughout the city (8-Bronx, 20-Brooklyn, 14-Manhattan, 11-Queens, 2-Staten Island). Individual grants range up to $3,000, to be used for arts partnerships that enhance parent, family, and community engagement around the arts. See list of partnerships.

♦ The first cycle of Arts Continuum partnerships was announced by the Office of Arts and Special Projects in December. 21 partnerships were funded (42 schools), including 18 Roundtable member organizations. Click here to see list of approved partnerships.

Additional Program Components:

♦ The city has hired, or is in the process of hiring, new arts teachers that are being placed in middle and high schools across the city. As of the beginning of the school year, 60+ teachers had already been hired, with other schools still seeking qualified applicants. As you may know the city lifted the hiring freeze on arts teachers (music, dance, theater, visual arts) so there should be a crop of new arts teachers interested in applying to work in city schools now and in the future.

♦ The Office of Arts and Special Projects has also hired Borough Arts Directors to facilitate arts programming in each of the five boroughs. These additional staff are charged with helping schools improve and expand arts education, with a special focus on schools not meeting state requirements for arts instruction. They have also hired several central staffers to help manage the new programs. For cultural organizations the person to contact would be Ben Espinosa, the new Arts Partnership Manager. His e-mail address is

The firve Borough Arts Directors are:

Joanna Berenson:

Jessica Englehart Goffredo:

Joy Pace:

Rachel Shapiro:

Janet Cela Velasquez:

♦ 53 city schools will receive grants totaling $740,000 to support school-based arts residencies that will serve English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities.  Click here for a list of schools and their cultural partners.

We will continue to provide updates on the initiative moving forward.