UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts has received an $846,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The grant, the largest given this year by the fund, will support the expansion of the University of California's successful arts outreach program, ArtsBridge.
The FIPSE grant will fund the expansion of the ArtsBridge model to six additional campuses across the nation, from the current eight University of California campuses to a total of 14 locations in four states. The new sites are the University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Utah, Salt Lake City; New York University, New York; and three California State universities in Sacramento, San Bernardino and Long Beach. The grant also involves the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which will work to assist in spreading the program nationally. The total cost of the project is nearly $1.6 million. The FIPSE grant will fund 53 percent, and the University of California will fund the remaining 47 percent.
"ArtsBridge helps close the gap in public school arts education, and this grant will help us establish pilot programs on more campuses in California and reach out nationally to universities in some of the other states," said Jill Beck, dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and founder of the ArtsBridge program at UC Irvine in 1996.
"ArtsBridge is a model for bringing together the schools and universities for the good of all," said Robert Weisbuch, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. "We greatly admire the program and wish to help actively promulgate it as a national model. ArtsBridge is a relevant example not only for the arts but for all disciplines."
The mission of ArtsBridge is to partner with public schools to provide high quality arts education to K-12 school children. University students receive scholarships and work with faculty mentors and public school teachers to conduct lessons in dance, music, art, drama, storytelling and digital arts. ArtsBridge projects endeavor to use the arts as a teaching tool--American history comes to life as fourth graders write, produce and perform a play about historical events with an ArtsBridge drama scholar; a photo exhibition by fifth graders improves concept development and writing skills as students create the images and compose narrative for a catalogue of their work.
"The arts not only enable children to broaden their understanding and appreciation of other people, cultures and ideas, but comprehensive arts education has been shown to sharpen analytical skills in subjects across the curriculum," Beck said.
"What's exciting about ArtsBridge is the deep engagement of all involved--arts students, faculty mentors, public school teachers and public school children--which results in a more lasting impact," said David Dynak, chair of the Department of Theater at University of Utah in Salt Lake City. "We're anxious to get started here in Salt Lake and already have several schools interested."
Specifically, the FIPSE grant will fund ArtsBridge programs on the new campuses for two years; develop an infrastructure to sustain these programs and use them to disseminate the model further; develop on online library of standards-based arts curricula in support of interdisciplinary learning; and investigate the learning outcomes of the program on university students and K-12 school children.
FIPSE supports innovative educational reform projects and is especially interested in promoting programs that can serve as national models for improving postsecondary education. ArtsBridge was one of 77 proposals funded by FIPSE this year from 1,500 applications.
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