A new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is giving students in some Houston public schools a chance to experience the arts in all forms. “From in-school residencies that are very well focused on arts integration, to field trip opportunities, to after-school programs, and also performances on campus,” explains Deborah Lugo, the Director of the Arts Access Initiative. The organization just received $100,000 from the NEA.
The program is backed by Young Audiences of Houston, an organization that partners with 40 local arts groups to bring more arts to Houston Independent School District students. This isn’t the first NEA grant they’ve received, but it is the largest.
HISD’s Douglas Torres-Edwards says it falls in line with the new superintendent’s aim to make arts education a priority. So far, 25 schools participate and the grant will help that number grow. “That means that not only do more of our students have these kinds of opportunities, but also that it is situated in such a way that art is not simply an afterthought.,” Torres-Edwards says.
The Arts Access Initiative focuses on students from Kindergarten to 8th grade, but Torres-Edwards says there are hopes to expand to high schools in the future.