City of Jacksonville


Rev. Kimberyl Hyatt of the Cathedral Arts Project at the podium for the Any Given Child announcement

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Announces Jacksonville as a Partner City for Any Given Child

August 22, 2013
Program Creates a Long-Range Arts Education Plan for Students Grades K-8

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen Jacksonville, Florida as the 14th site for Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will incorporate existing resources of the Duval County Public Schools, along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the city.

Any Given Child seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each student’s arts education, using an affordable model that combines the resources of the school district, local arts groups and the Kennedy Center. With the assistance of expert consultation services provided by Kennedy Center staff and other professionals, community leaders develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for the school district and community.
“Offering a strong arts education component benefits students in their social, intellectual and personal development,” said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “We are grateful to Mayor Brown and Superintendent Vitti for their commitment to this program.”

"The partnership with the Kennedy Center for Any Given Child represents a tremendous honor for the Cathedral Arts Project and our entire community," Mayor Alvin Brown said. "We are thankful for the opportunity to enhance and celebrate the dynamic contributions of artistic and cultural activities, and enhance arts education in our city. As mayor, I look forward to helping lead efforts with Superintendent Vitti to facilitate increased demand for arts among our youth to make Jacksonville an even better place to live, work and play."

“This is great news for our schools and our city,” said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. “The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative is directly aligned to our strategic plan focus area of developing the whole child, and provides our community an incredible opportunity to advance our work of enriching and improving the lives and educational outcomes of Jacksonville’s children.”

By working with other local arts organizations and using existing resources, the program aims to minimize administrative overhead, thus remaining affordable. The first phase of the program is a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment by Kennedy Center staff and consultants. A review of the community and the school system will reveal what arts education resources currently exist, and where the gaps are for students. Based on this information, a plan is created to bring more access to arts education for all K-8 students. The audit process takes approximately six to nine months.

During phase two of the program, a committee of community members makes recommendations to the school district and local arts groups on how to best implement the recently-created long range plan, focusing on increasing arts opportunities for K-8 students. In addition, educators and artists can take advantage of a wealth of resources available from the Kennedy Center, such as supplemental lessons with online interactive learning modules and videos available at, and professional development for teachers and teaching artists. The goal of this second phase is to provide a tapestry of arts education, strategically weaving together existing arts resources within the schools with those available from community providers and the Kennedy Center in order to reach every child.

In 2009, the Kennedy Center and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the first formal Any Given Child program in Sacramento, California. Now in the implementation phase, Sacramento has added artist residencies in select schools and provided performing and visual arts experiences for all elementary and middle school students in the two participating school districts. Other communities have added arts teachers in schools, raised significant dollars to provide performance and museum experiences for students, and coordinated the efforts of arts organizations providing education programs so that more students are served.

In February 2010, Springfield, Missouri became the second school district to participate in the program. Portland, Oregon joined the program in June 2010, and Southern Nevada joined in December 2010. Tulsa, Oklahoma joined the program in May 2011, Sarasota, Florida joined in June 2011; Austin, Texas joined in August 2011; Iowa City, Iowa joined in August, 2012; Baltimore, Maryland joined in September 2012; Fresno, California joined in October 2012. Juneau, Alaska joined in February 2013, Madison, Wisconsin joined in July 2013, and Missoula, Montana joined earlier this month. The Kennedy Center accepts applications between January 1 and March 31 of each year for a program start in the fall of the same year.

Education at the Kennedy Center

As the national center for the performing arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is committed to increasing opportunities for all people to participate in and understand the arts. To fulfill that mission, the Kennedy Center strives to commission, create, design, produce, and/or present performances and programs of the highest standard of excellence and of a diversity that reflects the world in which we live—and to make those performances and programs accessible and inclusive.

Education at the Kennedy Center includes resources from its presentations and productions and those of its affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra, VSA (the international arts and disability organization), and Washington National Opera. The focus, locally and nationally, is on producing and presenting age appropriate performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based programs that directly impact teachers, students, artists, and school and arts administrators through professional development; systemic and school improvement through arts integrated curricula, inclusive classrooms, and universal design in facilities and learning; creating partnerships around the issues of arts education and arts integrated education; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; developing careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations. 

Funding Credits 

Any Given Child, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.

This program is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support provided by David Gregory and Beth Wilkinson; the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts; and the U.S. Department of Education.

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