Any Given Child

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Voices for Any Given Child: A Foundation for Lifelong Engagement

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Gail Thomas Strong Community Arts Team Member & Vice President for Community Engagement, WFYI Public Media


An ongoing and comprehensive arts education program for K-8 students that reflects the richness of the Indianapolis arts community will lay a foundation for lifelong engagement by inspiring students to think in new ways and build their self-confidence.

Recap: March 14 Conversation About Arts Education

Thank you to those who attended the Conversation About Arts Education on Monday, March 14, at Central Library. WFYI moderator Sharon Gamble led panelists Wanda Legrand (IPS), Ron Smith (Butler Lab School), Betty Perry (Metropolitan Youth Orchestra), and Shannon Linker (Arts Council of Indianapolis) through a discussion on the importance of arts in education. Those in attendance were able to hear the panelists share their personal testimonies in support of arts in education as well as insights into the work of Any Given Child Indy.

If you were unable to attend the Conversation About Arts Education, archived footage from the event may be watched below. A special thanks goes to WFYI and American Graduate for hosting this special event at Central Library!

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Voices for Any Given Child Indy: The Power of Art

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JoEllen Florio Rossebo Community Arts Team Member & President, Chief Executive Officer Arts for Learning, The Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences



I hope that this initiative will bring the importance of arts in education to the forefront, engage the whole community, and make a real difference in the lives of all IPS students.

Dispatch from the Kennedy Center Exchange, February 16–17

Three representatives of the Community Arts Team went to Washington, DC in February to attend the Any Given Child Exchange. Seventeen community teams were represented from Alaska to Florida, including first-year participants and a seventh-year participant. It was two days of lively and informative exchanges of ideas and best practices for arts integration in the schools. Our team included Dr. Yvonne Stokes, Director of Research & Evaluation at Indianapolis Public Schools; Gail Thomas Strong, Vice President for Community Engagement for WFYI-PBS; and myself as Director of Grant Services and Arts Education at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Yvonne, Gail, & Ernest We learned from one another’s encounters, and built relationships with our peers around the country. We heard from policy makers and funders such as Dr. Ayanna Hudson from the National Endowment for the Arts, and others from across the country. Exchange participants learned about new rubrics for measuring student success; and we heard examples of innovative approaches to professional development for teachers. My biggest takeaway from the Exchange was that Indianapolis is now preparing to enter the most intensive phase of this five-year program: the “Capacity Building” phase where we will engage teachers and parents, test new ideas, create plans, link partners, and begin fundraising, too. I am so grateful to the Kennedy Center for bringing this opportunity to Indianapolis, and to the Arts Council of Indianapolis for asking me to be part of creating this change. 

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

Report Card 3/4/16: On the Road to Success; Powerful Work by Community Arts Team

Ahmed Young, Director of Education Innovation from the Office of Mayor Hogsett opened today’s meeting of the Community Arts Team. He shared his story of the transformative power of the arts in his own life that led him to not only learn the violin, but ultimately led him to go to law school and serve as a prosecutor. It is one of the many hundreds of stories that are driving the efforts in Indianapolis with Any Given Child Indy. Today’s group was charged and inspired as we again reviewed the data from 1,200 teachers and 53 arts organizations, and began listing dozens of strategies to help transform the lives of the 20,000 K–8 students in Indianapolis Public Schools through the arts. 

AGC CATToday was a reminder that the road ahead is a 5-year journey; that it will take many more voices and hands to make change happen; and that it will take the artistic expertise of many artists and arts organizations to ensure its success. According to the Kennedy Center facilitators, the energy in the room today was powerful, and I know I left changed by that energy and ideas in the room. We are coming to the end of the strategic planning year, and will soon be moving into the implementation phase for the 2016-2017 school year.

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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