Author Archive

Voices for Any Given Child Indy: “THIS I BELIEVE!”

Acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted the 1950s CBS Radio program This I Believe. It featured compelling essays from noted individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and ordinary folks from all walks of life…like you and me.

When NPR revived This I Believe in 2004, I was an avid listener. This I Believe, Inc. engaged youth and adults in writing and sharing brief essays about their core values. This I Believe essays became part of educational curricula internationally with guidance and resources available from Collections of essays remain available through publications and podcasts.

You probably guess where I am going with my brief summation of this powerful initiative. I believe in the power of the arts through arts education. 

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Workshop Reflection from Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, Stuart Stotts

Arts Integration is a key concept for communities involved in the Any Given Child initiative. It is a way to meaningfully link the arts and curriculum, strengthening learning in both areas. In an arts integrated approach, students create art that demonstrates what they know through creative expression. They also receive specific training in the art form. Teachers learn, too, as they provide ongoing arts integrated instruction. 

I recently came to Indianapolis to lead three workshops to train teachers, arts administrators and teaching artists on the core ideas involved. All three groups participated enthusiastically in a model lesson followed by an exploration of the implications of arts integration for creativity, higher order thinking, and collaborative learning. I was delighted by the level of interest in this approach, and I hope that the workshops will provide a solid foundation for moving forward for students, teachers, and the community at-large.

About the Author
Stuart Stotts is a songwriter, storyteller, and author from Madison, Wisconsin. He has worked as a full-time performer since 1986 and gives more than 200 shows a year for kids, families, and adults around the Midwest, and sometimes farther. Mr. Stotts is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops for teachers, parents, and librarians. He has worked extensively as an artist-in-residence in elementary, middle, and high schools. He has also released several award-winning recordings and is the author of The Bookcase Ghost: A Collection of Wisconsin Ghost StoriesBooks in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of WisconsinCurly Lambeau and the Green Packers, and most recently We Shall Overcome: A Song that Changed the World.


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REPORT CARD: 12/9/16 STEERING COMMITTEE: Building Momentum

Professional Development for teachers, teaching artists, and arts administrators is a priority need, as identified by IPS teachers, and this month we are bringing the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to Indianapolis to conduct training for over 150 such educators in Arts Integration.

The Kennedy Center definition for Arts Integration is: “An approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.”

During the last few months, the collective also identified eight schools for piloting general arts education partnerships next school year including two with a focus on Arts Integration. The momentum has been tremendous! The next steps are to:

  1. Finalize the program plan narrative
  2. Adopt the proposed evaluation protocols
  3. Establish a budget for implementation
  4. Develop funding strategies.

In February, these recommendations will be presented to the Governing Council for Any Given Child Indy,  co-chaired by IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee and Arts Council of Indianapolis President & CEO Dave Lawrence. 

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

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RECAP: 2016 Mistletoe Music Festival Student Performances at the Indianapolis Artsgarden


This past December, the Arts Council of Indianapolis recently celebrated the 15th annual Mistletoe Music Festival in the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

Each year, Indiana schools are invited to bring students to share their musical talents with the city. In 2016, 63 schools participated in the festival, including 7 from Indianapolis Public Schools, the school partner of Any Given Child Indy. There were 2,736 students involved in the 67 performances.



To receive information about participating in the 2017 Mistletoe Music Festival, contact Erin Vollmer, Indianapolis Artsgarden Coordinator, at



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