Mayor Rahm Emanuel marked the one-year anniversary of the completion of the Chicago Public Schools' Arts Education Plan Wednesday by announcing about $500,000 in grants to 45 schools to enhance arts learning.
Appearing at Symphony Center with CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, plus cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming — creative consultants for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera, respectively — the mayor discussed the creation of the Creative Schools Fund, a collaboration among the arts-advocacy organization Ingenuity, the Mayor's Office, CPS and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The fund is designed to award grants in support of certified arts instructors working to boost the schools' arts curriculums.
Emanuel noted that under the Arts Education Plan, every student now receives at least two hours of arts education a week, and every school has an arts liaison and arts is part of the school's report card.
"It means arts education is core to a child's education," the mayor said. "It's not extra."
According to Wednesday's announcement, five schools will receive Arts Innovate awards of up to $15,000 each, and 40 schools will receive Arts Advance awards for up to $10,000 each.
Schools that receive the new Creative Schools Certification are receiving “Arts Essentials” funding of up to $750 as well. Roughly $500,000 in grants are already being distributed among 400 schools, the mayor's office says.