In 1999, noted philanthropist R. Kirk Landon commissioned Young Audiences, Inc., the nation’s oldest and largest arts-in-education network, to conduct a needs assessment of Miami-Dade County’s arts education resources. The report revealed that while the school district had strong arts programs and cultural organizations had good outreach efforts, students were still not receiving the level of arts instruction that studies were beginning to show correlated to the development of higher academic achievement and essential life skills. It was clear to Mr. Landon that more could be done to create world class learning opportunities in the arts for his beloved community.
As a result, with Mr. Landon’s support, Young Audiences convened to develop a working group of community leaders to form what would become Arts for Learning, Miami’s leading organization helping children and youth experience the power of the arts to enrich their lives while engaging them in learning.
The thinking was clear: World class education includes the arts and students need more. Mr. Landon helped secure a $150,000 seed grant through ABIG (now Assurant Solutions) to launch Arts for Learning as a 501©3 organization dedicated to advancing teaching and learning through the arts. With additional support from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and strategic guidance and office space from the school district, Arts for Learning launched its first program, GET smART, an in-school arts-integration program to help teachers infuse their classes with creative, arts-based lessons that connected to other areas of learning. From there, Arts for Learning thrived; adding new programs and expanding its reach to preschools, parks, and community centers.
Today, Arts for Learning is one of the largest organizations in South Florida solely dedicated to connecting professional visual and performing artists to children and educators. Every day, Arts for Learning works to inspire young people, expanding their learning opportunities through the arts.
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