February 28, 2008 (Lexington, Kentucky) – The African American Forum, Inc. (AAF) today announced its commitment to arts programming at high poverty Title I public elementary schools in Fayette County. At a news conference held at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) at Bluegrass, the organization presented eight schools with checks totaling $18,000, and committed to a total donation of $100,000 over the next six years. Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary Helen Mountjoy and Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman were present to offer comments about the AAF’s Arts Partnership Project.
The Arts Partnership Project program was established in 1996 to invest in the artistic, cultural and educational endeavors of K-5 youth, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its inception, the Arts Partnership Project has donated thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind resources to inner city and rural elementary schools’ arts programs.
“In addition to financial support, today we are pledging our ongoing commitment to educating our community about the vital role arts education plays in children’s lives,” stated AAF President and CEO John E. Cole III. “In light of eliminated funding for Arts Education programs on a national scale, and proposed changes to arts in education on a local level, we believe it’s time to increase our organization’s level of financial support and turn up the volume on arts education advocacy. Private – public partnerships such as ours are now more important than ever!”
The elementary schools chosen to receive funding, based on their Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) scores and percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch, were: Booker T. Washington, Cardinal Valley, Harrison, Johnson, Linlee, Northern and Russell Cave. SCAPA at Bluegrass was also recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments in academic and artistic excellence.
“SCAPA will serve as our benchmark school against which other schools’ achievements can be gauged,” commented Cole. “We want to empower these schools to determine how our investment will best benefit their arts programs – whether it entails taking students to an arts performance
, or museum, or even to purchase needed arts supplies.”
In order to receive full funding, schools must inform the AAF how they plan to use the funds; the number of students that will benefit; the anticipated results from the initiative for which the funds were allocated; and written follow-up on outcomes from the chosen initiative. As part of the outcomes measurement, schools are encouraged to have the students submit a brief essay on what the chosen initiative meant to them.
The African American Forum, Inc. is a non-profit arts and cultural organization based in Lexington, Kentucky, committed to presenting programs that celebrate the African American experience. It is also committed to giving back to the community through arts programming and outreach to inner city and rural elementary schools, opportunities for volunteer service, and collaborative efforts to address quality of life issues that impact the African American community. For more information about the AAF, please call 859-255-2653 or visit www.AAFinc.com.