In celebration of National Arts in Education Week, we’d like to showcase some of the ArtsWave-funded organizations that are fueling creativity and learning through the arts:

Cincinnati Ballet
Reaching over 1,800 third graders in area school, CincyDance! provides access to dance classes, exposing children from a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to both the discipline and joy of dance in a safe, structured and supportive environment. It starts with the First Steps Residency, where faculty from Cincinnati Ballet travel to schools to give weekly one-hour presentations, where students learn the basics of ballet.

Students who show an affinity and aptitude for dance are invited to the Ballet Foundations program, a tuition-free, 20-week program of hour-long classes. These classes are focused on ballet but supplemented by other dance disciplines, including modern, jazz and hip-hop. From there, some students decide to continue with full-time dance training, with both need- and merit-based scholarships available.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company offers the nation’s first and only Shakespeare theater-in-residence program for Cincinnati Public Schools. CSC’s teaching artists host seven weekly in-class workshops at the School for Creative and Performing Arts’ 8th and 9th grade English classes. Each week, students tackle a different topic relating to Shakespeare or his work through various activities and exercises, culminating with group projects that create an interdisciplinary interpretations or adaptations of an act or scene, including writing their own adaptations and creating dioramas.

A pilot program in 2015 showed that students who attended these workshops showed a 300% improvement in their comprehension score and were 23% more likely to want to learn more about Shakespeare. The benefits didn’t stop there. Students who participated in the pilot program were also 20% more likely to show in interest in learning about people who are different from themselves – a clear indication of increased empathy.

Studio E is an after-school program offered by Elementz. The program unites teens from various artistic disciplines to create original works of art. These works have included audio interviews, podcasts and music videos, all of which serve as an introduction to potential careers in digital media. At community arts performances, Elementz often employs projects from Studio E to provide entertainment.

Studio E is rapidly expanding as its benefits are so easily noticeable. Woodward High School offers the program as a course one day per week. Taft High School offers Studio E as an afterschool activity for students. The Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky has also employed Studio E as a form of therapy for teen boys temporarily removed from their homes for behavioral issues. In each case, students are learning valuable skills through an exploration of their own capacity for creativity.

UC-CCM/City Gospel Mission
City Gospel Mission's Whiz Kids program provides one-to-one tutoring and mentoring at 64 locations in Greater Cincinnati. In 2006, two CCM alumnae approached City Gospel Mission about expanding the program to provide music education to those disadvantaged schools that are no longer able to sustain a music program of their own. CCM administration was alerted to the idea and, after securing funding through ArtsWave, the Whiz Kids Music Program was formed, bringing CCM students to elementary schools in the area to teach weekly after-school music classes.

Over the course of the school year, at-risk elementary school students learn about rhythm, singing, instrumentation and music appreciation. The classes equip students with a knowledge of and appreciation for music while giving CCM students experience teaching and connecting with the local community. Through this collaboration, at-risk elementary students gain critical encouragement to stay in school and to live healthy, successful lives.

i.imagine, a photography-based education organization, offers a semester-long, one-hour per week class in Kenton County schools called "My Soul as I See It." In its first year, students studied the work of a famous photographer each week, exploring the passion, creativity and techniques that led them to success. Students also participated in a service learning project to share their photography skills and resources with a community organization. Examples included photos for animal shelter adoption photos, Family Promise photos and more.

This year will be the second of the program and the first funded by ArtsWave. At the end of the program, students will select their best images to be printed on ceramic tiles. These tiles will be combined and installed a mosaic wall in their community, adding community enlivenment and pride to the educational benefits of "My Soul as I See It."

Cincinnati Art Museum
LookSeeDo brings the Cincinnati Art Museum into classrooms around the Greater Cincinnati area. Teachers choose from a selection of workshops that use works of art from the museum’s permanent collection as points of departure for exploring various subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective. Each workshop includes a discussion of art as well as a hands-on art project.

Programs include an exploration of life on a farm (using Marc Chagall’s Red Rooster as a starting point), an exploration of Native American culture, the marriage of math and art through mosaic-making, a study of geometry through origami, a look at the natural world through illustration and landscape, and a well-rounded examination of the work of Charley Harper.

ArtsWave is proud to support each of these programs. Large and small, every one of them provides critical access to the arts in education.