June 12, 2020

An Open Letter to Our School Community

This letter was sent by a collective of arts and culture education directors to area schools. It is being reposted here.

Teachers participate in an arts-integration workshop through the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program. Photo: Betty Hum Photography.

Dear Colleagues, Friends, Heroes,

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

The work that you do to educate, engage, and inspire our future generations is so incredibly important, especially now, during a time when your limits, resources, and resolve are being tested beyond measure.

For the safety and well-being of your students and families, you have sacrificed countless hours transitioning to distance learning—creating and re-creating lesson plans, evaluating and re-evaluating strategies, viewing and reviewing policies and guidelines. We want you to know that your efforts are not going unnoticed. The communications, the collaborations, the frustrations, the emotions, the questions . . . we see you. And we want to help.

Wolf Trap
Preschoolers dance on stage at the Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Photo: Betty Hum Photography.

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the arts and culture are a beacon helping students dream, inspiring them to achieve, and keeping hope alive. We feel the weight of our responsibility to support students, families, and educators and want you to know that we are here for you. We know that information is changing every day. We can see that the path ahead will be rocky. But, most of all, we understand that it will take some creative thinking, some unique projects, and some innovative collaborations to keep moving forward. You see, when the going gets tough, we get creative. And we want to be creative with you.

As plans, projects, recommendations, and guidelines start coming to fruition, we humbly ask that you don’t forget about us. We have certainly not forgotten about you! Although there are still many unknowns ahead, we are all dedicated to finding creative and supportive ways to continue interacting and engaging with you in the coming school year. All this to say that, from live virtual events to pre-recorded programming, we are ready and willing to work with you and adapt to this new and uncharted landscape.

Teaching artist “Dancing Diane” shares techniques on how to use props to enliven storytelling through a virtual masterclass. Photo: Scottsdale Arts.

As you consider the new ways you must operate, the new measures you must institute, and the new challenges that must be faced, remember that we are here, eager to lend a helping hand. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more, decide more, and create more, but in the meantime, please reach out to us with your ideas.

  1. If you have a program idea, suggest it!
  2. If you have a specific need, tell us!
  3. If there is a gap in your supportive programming, let us know!

Together, we will succeed.

With gratitude,

Your Arts & Cultural Education Directors

This group represents Act One, Arizona Historical Society, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Arizona Opera, Arizona Science Center, Arizona Theatre Company, ASU Art Museum, Ballet Arizona, Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Childsplay Theatre, Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Heard Museum, i.d.e.a. Museum, Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Rosie’s House, Scottsdale Arts, The Phoenix Symphony, The Phoenix Zoo, and Vision Gallery.

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