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Mayor De Blasio announces big plans for arts education for 2014-2015

more emphasis on the arts planned for 2014-2015
more emphasis on the arts planned for 2014-2015
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

In a major hiring announcement at the Bronx Museum of the Arts today (July 1), Mayor de Blasio announced that $23 million has been allocated for arts education for the 2014-2015 school year. This news was reported by http://www1.nyc.gov web site today by the office of the Mayor, Examiner has learned. According to the report, The Department of Education will hire 120 new arts teachers to work in under-served middle and high schools with the help of an additional $23 million earmarked for arts education in the 2014-2015 school year budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on July 1.

The report points out that thousands of schoolchildren will have new classes and activities in music, dance, visual arts and theater, the mayor said in the press conference announcing this program. “The funds will also be used to improve arts facilities, foster partnerships with the city’s museums and other cultural institutions, and upgrade and enhance school arts facilities,” added the mayor’s office.“We want every child to feel the spark that comes from learning something they are passionate about,” said de Blasio, who was joined by Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer at the press conference, added the web site. “The investments we are making here won’t just help our students explore music, dance and the arts. They will help these children grow in a way that helps them succeed in school and in life.”

The mayor also allocated $3.1 million for an Arts Teacher Choice Fund, which will provide $1,000 for each full-time certified arts teacher to be used to buy studio materials, supplies and equipment, according to the report.

Fariña, who names arts education a priority when she was appointed chancellor, has already created two pilot programs to bring the arts back to schools: a Friday lunchtime series of concerts featuring student musicians and an after-school program for middle school students to visit local cultural institutions, adds the web site. “Expanding access to an arts education will help inspire students, build confidence and deepen their critical thinking skills,” the chancellor said.

In April, Stringer issued a report, “State of the Arts,” that found arts education was underfunded and inequitable, with schools in the South Bronx and central Brooklyn offering no arts programs. Stringer called the $23 million “an important down payment” in the effort to ensure every student has access to a meaningful arts education. For more on this report visit http://www1.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/322-14/mayor-de-blasio-comptroller-stringer-chancellor-fari-a-new-arts-programs-for#/0

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced how the City will spend an unprecedented $23 million in additional arts funding for New York City schools. The City will hire 120 new arts teachers at middle and high schools that are underserved, improve arts facilities across the City, and foster exciting partnerships with some of the City’s renowned cultural institutions. The new investment will reach thousands of students with new classes and activities in music, dance, visual arts and theater.

“We want every child to feel the spark that comes from learning something they are passionate about. And so often, it’s taking up an instrument, honing an artistic craft, or performing for the first time that helps a young person come into their own for the first time. The investments we are making here won’t just help our students explore music, dance and the arts. They will help these children grow in a way that helps them succeed in school and in life,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are proud to work with Comptroller Stringer and the arts community, which have advocated bringing these vital programs to even more students.”

“In New York City, the cultural capital of the world, a zip code should never determine whether a student can access arts education in their school. Mayor de Blasio’s commitment of $23 million for expanded arts education marks an important down payment in our ongoing effort to make sure that every City student, in every neighborhood, has access to a meaningful arts education, as I recommended in my recent report, ‘State of the Arts,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I also applaud Chancellor Fariña for her commitment to put certified arts teachers in middle and high schools that lack them, which will support their capacity to develop partnerships with our amazing arts and cultural organizations in New York City.”

“The arts teach our students the importance of revising, editing, rehearsing and joy in the pursuit of mastery—a lesson critical in the classroom and beyond,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. Expanding access to an arts education will help inspire students, build confidence, and deepen their critical thinking skills. By integrating a rigorous arts curriculum and art making into schools, we can provide hands-on learning experiences that help students thrive.”

According to http://www.epochtimes.com, “the funding was partially allocated in response to a report issued by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, which found that 419 schools in the city lack a full-time, certified arts teacher.”

“The idea here is to take a big step forward toward providing universal arts and culture education. This was the step we could take this year; we intend to do more going forward,” de Blasio told Epoch Times at a press conference held at the Bronx Museum of Arts. “Auditoriums, dance floors, choral risers, and other arts facilities will be upgraded to the tune of $7.5 million. Meanwhile, some 3,000 full-time certified art teachers will each receive $1,000 to spend on art supplies, studio materials, and equipment,’ added the web report.

“The arts in many, many ways, particularly in middle school, make kids come to school,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said at the press conference. De Blasio said that his only involvement in the arts as a high school student was to play a police lieutenant in a school play. He said the experience taught him about camaraderie. However he still feels that funding the arts can help make a big difference in enriching the lives of public school children. Staten island teachers, parents, and administrators tell Examiner what you feel this arts funding means to you? We welcome your comments and feedback!