The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts has been awarded its first major grant under new board and executive leadership. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will invest $150,000 so the JMCA can develop a pilot program based on the Lincoln Center Institute, a unique arts education program of New York's Lincoln Center.
The funds will help develop a program of "aesthetic education" which trains professional artists as "teaching artists" who, in turn, train classroom teachers in the same LCI method. Artists and teachers then pair up to take the method back into the classroom for the benefit of students.
The Lincoln Center Institute model of aesthetic education has been in practice for 25 years in New York and has been successfully replicated in 21 affiliated institutes around the world. The programs provide intensely personal learning opportunities in the arts for teachers and students.
This year alone, LCI affiliated institutes are touching thousands of teachers and 1.5 million students around the nation, in Australia and Hong Kong.
"The impact (of the grant) is not just financial, enabling us to launch the Northern California presence of this terrific arts and education process. We can see the impact in the quality of eyebrow raising when we tell people about the Hewlett Foundation's support. The eyebrows go way up and are accompanied by that thoughtful kind of 'oh, really' smile that conveys respect. This significant grant is opening a lot of great conversations for us with other potential funders,” said Sabrina Klein, new executive director of the JMCA.
Board and staff of the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts have been planning for the past year to establish an LCI affiliated institute starting in June of this year
The Hewlett grant now makes this possible. The JMCA is one of five additional affiliated institutes to emerge this year.
"We propose that the model we develop this year will be extended over the next 10 years to become the largest such institute outside New York," Klein said.
The grant period runs through February of 2002 and underwrites planning and outreach, artist training, a two-week summer intensive for 40 teachers from at least eight Bay Area schools, and partial support for implementing the model at the schools for one year.
So far, participating schools for the coming school year include Thousand Oaks and Longfellow middle schools in Berkeley, Mira Vista in Richmond and Irvington High School in Fremont.
The teaching artists who take part in the program will lead the teachers through a two-week intensive process that allows them to become intimate with works of art.
The teachers return to the classroom and, with the teaching artists, team-teach their students using the same methods and same works of art.
Teacher and student alike gain a new, deeper and more personal experience of and understanding of art. Studies have shown this deeper appreciation of art can last a lifetime.
In addition to Executive Director Klein, the new leadership at the JMCA is comprised of Elizabeth McKoy and Tim Choate, who together have invested more than $500,000 in the new JMCA in the past two years. Skip Franklin, William Byrne, Judith McKoy and Gail Simpson make up the rest of the board.
With the goal of nurturing the artist in each of us, the JMCA seeks to break down barriers to art in everyday life. Through its aesthetic education program based on the LCI model, the JMCA puts the artist in the classroom so that teacher and student alike experience the arts first hand.
This approach is designed to remind us all that artists are an indispensable part of our community and that art is for everyone.