PHILADELPHIA, May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- ArtistYear, the first AmeriCorps program committed to addressing our nation's Arts Education Gap through a National Service Arts Corps, pivoted its teaching-artist Fellows within weeks, bringing arts learning out of closed low-income schools and into homes of students across our nation. ArtistYear's 57 AmeriCorps Fellows typically deliver over 97,000 hours of arts education each school year to 17,000 vulnerable students in 51 Title I schools across three locations.
When the pandemic precipitously cut short the Fellow's service year in the classroom, ArtistYear pivoted together with its school district-partners: The New York City Department of Education; Colorado's Roaring Fork School District; and The School District of Philadelphia and their Education Channel, PSTV, and The Articulate Foundation, producers of the national PBS show, Articulate with Jim Cotter, and YouTube to continue teaching students who have limited access to the arts. In addition to providing online learning in tandem with partner-schools, the Fellows have produced 11 Arts Learning Programs on YouTube. Each program is a 10-episode series for K-12 students across artistic disciplines. Fellows are providing students with emotional, creative, and academic inspiration through the arts, whether on a phone, Chromebook, or television.
"Theater of Circumstance," walks students through the process of creating an original piece of theater virtually. "Choose Your Own Sketch Venture," is a do-it-yourself-series teaching students bookmaking. Programs are designed to be utilized with what a family already has at home.
"Youth are hungry for creative expression," said Margo Drakos, Cofounder and CEO of ArtistYear. "Our Fellows are coming together stronger than ever around a common purpose – to push boundaries and democratize access to arts learning for all youth, no matter their zip code."
"AmeriCorps is America at its best – people putting compassion into action," said Chester Spellman, Director of AmeriCorps. "ArtistYear is finding innovative ways to use national service to solve the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. I'm proud that AmeriCorps can be a part of that solution, bringing quality arts education to students at home. Through their dedication and sacrifice, I know our nation is in good hands."
Founded as a virtual organization, ArtistYear was able to adapt in record time to continue enabling Fellows to serve students online. To bolster ArtistYear's virtual curriculum within weeks, ArtistYear partnered with leading art and education platforms. On the production side, YouTube; and Articulate with Jim Cotter, an Emmy Award-winning arts and culture public television program, have guided our Fellows on how to produce content while physically separated using basic software. Our shared-delivery partner and friends at PSTV will distribute Fellows' Programs through PSTV's distribution platforms, reaching 200,000 students across Philadelphia.
"We are truly appreciative of ArtistYear and the partnership with PSTV," said Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. "It is extremely important that we continue to provide our students with the same well-rounded education that they had in the classroom, which includes arts education. We're hopeful that this programming will help our students to stay connected and engaged with their learning and each other during such uncertain times."
Margo Drakos, Cofounder & CEO, ArtistYear
Shelley Wolfe, PSTV, Executive Director of Media & Production Services
Samantha Jo Warfield, Press Secretary, Corporation for National and Community Service