PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ArtistYear, the recently-founded national service organization that enables artists to commit to a year of service to their country, has been awarded $1.45 million in AmeriCorps funding over three years. ArtistYear is the first national organization dedicated to service through the arts to receive recognition from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and national volunteering initiatives. The federal investment will support 25 ArtistYear AmeriCorps members serving as teaching-artists alongside established arts educators in federally designated Title I schools, as ArtistYear expands beyond its home of Philadelphia into the Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado, and the Borough of Queens school districts.

«Service binds humans to one another and gives us a stake in our communities and our country,» said ArtistYear co-founder and CEO Margo Drakos. «ArtistYear provides artists with the opportunity to harness their skills and give back by devoting a year to youth in underserved communities. With their service, ArtistYear AmeriCorps members will support leadership, academic performance, and the development of future engaged citizens through creative expression.»

ArtistYear believes the arts are imperative for the development of critical thinking, self-discipline, empathy, and civic engagement, and that these characteristics are key to an engaged citizenry and a thriving democracy. Research shows that when children are involved in the arts, they reap substantial social, academic, and personal benefits. Art also leads to significant gains in academic achievement, bolstering success in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Despite the proven benefits of arts learning for vulnerable student populations, the most recent report on the state of arts education in the U.S. from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that economically disadvantaged students are far less likely to access arts instruction when compared to their more affluent peers. According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), this «art education gap» disproportionately affects students of color and English Language Learners. ArtistYear is dedicated to filling this arts access gap by placing ArtistYear AmeriCorps members in K-12 schools which serve a high concentration of low-income students.

In the 2017-18 school year 25 ArtistYear AmeriCorps members will serve approximately 5,000 students through 42,500 hours of arts instruction across the United States: 12 in the School District of Philadelphia; 8 in the Queens School District in partnership with New York City Service and the New York City Department of Education; and 5 in the Roaring Fork Valley School District, Colorado, in partnership with the Aspen Music Festival and School. Members work alongside full-time teachers, helping expand arts instruction in the selected schools, creating a stable and consistent arts presence with a goal of leading to longer-term support for keeping and expanding arts instruction programs.

Full news release 

2017-18 ArtistYear AmeriCorps members, bios, and school assignments

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About ArtistYear

About the Corporation for National and Community Service

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