Kennedy Center announces new partnership at Hamilton Sings
Posted on 10/24/2018
Kennedy Center banner for programThe joy of 170 fifth-grade children singing and performing makes for a wonderful evening but add the excitement of an announcement that will impact the arts throughout the community and it becomes an extra special night. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Tennessee, as the 26th site in the country for Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child at the annual Hamilton Sings concert last night. Any Given Child is a catalyst program that improves the academic experience and performance of children and creates change by involving the arts community in the power of strategic, coordinated arts education.

Hamilton Sings, a one-day elementary honor choir event, includes 5th-grade students from every Hamilton County school. The student performers participated in musical workshops during the day on Tuesday and performed a spectacular free concert last night at 6 pm. at First Baptist Church. Hamilton Sings an event led by teachers from Hamilton County Schools. The teachers hold workshops and rehearsals with the children getting them ready for a free evening concert involving all of the participating fifth-graders. The announcement about the communities selection as an Any Given Child site made Hamilton Sings even more spectacular. The announcement was shared by Jeanette McCune, director of School and Community Programs at the Kennedy Center.

Any Given Child is in its tenth year and based on arts education is an essential component of a student’s education; all children deserve equitable access to quality arts education; and that the community must work with schools to create long-range plans that benefit students and improve communities. With the addition of Chattanooga-Hamilton County, the program has 26 sites in 20 states and Puerto Rico. Within the 2017–2018 school year, Any Given Child impacted 977,063 students in grades K–8.

“The arts engage the whole child in creative thinking, collaboration, cross-cultural understanding, and communication,” said McCune. “It inspires and transforms students, supporting them in becoming life-long learners as well as future citizens. “

“The arts are a key element to a quality education experience for our children in Hamilton County Schools, and we are excited about the opportunities the Any Given Child initiative will provide in our schools,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “The arts community in the area is very strong, and we appreciate our partnership with ArtsBuild and the Kennedy Center in opening the door to tremendous possibilities for our children’s future.”

For the past 15 years, the Kennedy Center has enjoyed a successful relationship with Chattanooga-Hamilton County as part of the Center’s nationwide network Partners in Education program. The mission of Any Given Child aligns with those efforts and will strengthen the arts in schools and the community. “Any Given Child generates a measurable impact on students’ lives both in and out of the classroom, and we are looking forward to seeing the students reap the benefits of increased arts opportunities,” added McCune.

In Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Any Given Child will incorporate existing resources of Hamilton County Schools, ArtsBuild, local arts and community organizations, and the Kennedy Center. Local educators and philanthropic and for-profit stakeholders will provide additional resources. ArtsBuild will also serve as the lead organization for Any Given Child Chattanooga-Hamilton County with funding support towards the first four years provided by the Hamilton County Schools.
“We believe that student achievement will only increase when the arts are part of a well-rounded education,” said, Dan Bowers, president of ArtsBuild. “We are excited to move arts education to the next level through the Any Given Child Initiative.”

The Any Given Child program includes strategic planning in the first year, which includes a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment facilitated by Kennedy Center staff. Implementation will follow in the remaining three years guided by an Implementation Committee as the community puts the strategic plan into action. Sustaining will be the focus in year 5 and beyond with the goal that the community expands arts education offerings and continues to ensure funding and staffing for program initiatives.

View the Hamilton sings Concert

Photo Top: L to R - Jeanette McCune, director of School and Community Programs at the Kennedy Center; Claire Stockman, content lead for the arts, Hamilton County Schools; Rodney Van Valkenburg, director of grants and initiatives, ArtsBuild; Brandon Oakes, Battle Academy; Maya McCain, Lakeside Academy; Kathy Lennon, District 2, Hamilton County Board of Education; Jaiden Asberry, Lakeside Academy; Vrusha Sunilkumar Patel, Red Bank Elementary; Tucker McClendon, District 8, Hamilton County Board of Education; Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent, Hamilton County Schools; and Dan Bowers, president of ArtsBuild.