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The Music Center Education Department Heads Back-To-School As It Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary of Transforming Lives Through the Arts

 Performing Arts Center’s Far-Reaching Education Initiatives Bring the Arts into Schools, Introduce Young People to L.A.’s Multidisciplinary Arts Center and
Inspire Lifelong Learning

LOS ANGELES (August 29, 2019)—As teachers and students head back to school for the 2019–2020 school year, The Music Center celebrates the 40th anniversary of its education department. With the foundational support of Music Center founder Dorothy Buffum Chandler, who had a strong passion for arts education along with deep concern about cuts to school programs throughout the years, The Music Center’s education division was formally created in 1979. Now, offering one of the largest arts education programs in the country, The Music Center’s Education Department advocates for the role of quality arts education as part of the core curriculum for all students in Los Angeles County. An integral part of The Music Center’s mission, arts education programs underscore the performing arts institution’s civic role as welcoming and inclusive for children, families and the larger community, providing them with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the arts. To date, The Music Center Education Department has served over 10 million students, educators and family members, through in-school performances and residencies all throughout Los Angeles County, free festivals and matinee performances at The Music Center, professional development for educators and a wide range of arts learning experiences for young people of all ages and abilities.

“With state and local funding for arts education much lower than was the case 40 years ago, it’s our responsibility as a leading arts organization to share our creative expertise and artist connections so the youth of our county experience the wonder and magic of the performing arts,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “From offering children the opportunity to attend a performance for the first time to explaining a math concept via arts-focused, project-based learning, we celebrate the impact of our 40 years of arts education programs with renewed vigor and commitment, knowing the proven benefits of arts education in aiding creativity, communication and collaboration among students.”

“Arts education was an essential component of Mrs. Chandler’s vision for The Music Center, and today, building on the extraordinary work of our education department’s founders and past leaders, our programs and initiatives touch the lives of more than 150,000 school children, parents and teachers in Los Angeles County each year,” added Keith Wyffels, associate vice president of education for The Music Center. “By developing dynamic arts integration programs and bringing expert educational artists into our partner schools, we witness first-hand children’s reactions and excitement whenever they see a performance, identify with a new culture, art form or experience that opens their eyes to the richness of the world around them, their own creative potential and a deeper understanding of one another.”

“I have had the distinct honor of serving in a leadership role with the Arts Education Branch at LA Unified School District for decades, remarked Dr. Steven J. McCarthy, director of Arts Education Division of Instruction for Los Angeles Unified School District. “Throughout this time, I have consistently seen the awe-inspired eyes of our students and have felt the incredible sense of wonderment during every remarkable collaboration we have had with The Music Center’s Education Department. Without a doubt, our partnerships have opened the world to our students. On behalf of the millions of students served over these many years, I am forever grateful for the shared passion for arts education demonstrated by both LA Unified and The Music Center. The arts will forever give meaning to life.”

The Music Center’s Education Department is now part of The Music Center Arts (TMC Arts), The Music Center’s programming engine that provides relevant, engaging arts experiences that deepen the cultural lives of everyone in Los Angeles County. From presentations of world-renowned dance companies and free concerts and events to arts education programs that engage children PreK-12, teachers and aspiring young talent, TMC Arts reflects the diverse voices and interests of L.A.’s many communities.

One of its long-standing arts education programs is The Music Center on Tour, which presents educational performances that invite students into the world of the performing arts through dance, music, theatre and storytelling. These high-energy, compelling and engaging experiences are committed to excellence, rich educational content and the great diversity of Los Angeles and the world. For the 2019–2020 school year, TAIKOPROJECT, Futa Toro West African Dance Ensemble, David Prather’s Yankee Doodle Poetry, Leela Dance Collective and Los Cambalache have been added to the roster of performances, now boasting 77 distinct shows. Each presentation includes customized curriculum designed to complement and deepen what students are learning in the classroom through meaningful curriculum connections and universal themes that carry across cultures, styles and content areas.

In addition to The Music Center on Tour, TMC Arts’ annual education programs include:

Arts Integration Partnerships
In collaboration with 15 school districts across the county, The Music Center’s Arts Integration Partnerships utilize greatly experiences teaching artists to empower student creativity and develop their artistic, workforce and life skills. This program seeks to deepen learning across the curriculum, working collaboratively with classroom teachers by combining dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts with content areas including English Language Arts, history, science and social emotional learning for students of all ages and abilities.

Professional Development
The Music Center’s professional development programs bring educators together to participate in an experiential and immersive approach to integrating dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts into their classrooms. The focus is on meeting educators where they are and building their capacity over time and in depth—both at school sites and at The Music Center—including three distinct training sessions offered annually during The Music Center’s Summer Arts Studio for Educators.

Student Festivals and Matinee Performances
The Music Center’s enduring commitment to L.A. County school communities is exemplified through its longstanding free onsite programs for students, including The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival(March 24-26, 2020), where fifth graders across the county experience live performances and dance together as a community; The Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival(November 8, 2019) that engages students of all abilities as artistic creators and contributors; and The Music Center’s Student Matinee Program, where students experience world-class dance performances that celebrate the diversity of L.A. communities.

About The Music Center
The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: The Music Center Arts (TMC Arts) and The Music Center Operations (TMC Ops). TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on The Music Center Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—and in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as K–12 arts education programs. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the plaza and Grand Park on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.

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