The Center for Arts Education

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The Center for Arts Education (CAE) is a nonprofit organization that is committed to stimulating and sustaining quality arts education as an essential part of every child’s education in the New York City public schools. Since 1996, CAE has invested nearly $40 million to support schools and cultural organizations in their efforts to restore arts education programs. CAE has served over 500 schools, 490,000 students, 21,000 teachers and 75,000 parents, while supporting more than 400 cultural organizations in partnership with New York City public schools.[1]


The Center for Arts Education was founded in 1996 to restore and sustain arts education in New York City’s public schools after two decades of system-wide cutbacks in funding for classroom arts programs. The fiscal budget crisis of the 1970s[2] immediately challenged the City’s commitment to arts education. Budget cuts resulted in teacher layoffs and the gradual abandonment of the arts as an essential element of students’ academic development.[3] For the next twenty years, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers experienced a K-12 education without opportunities to receive instruction in arts education, aside from schools with private funding.

In the early 1990s, the New York City Board of Education (NYCDOE), New York City’s cultural institutions, and private-sector foundations grew increasingly, alarmed by the diminished state of arts education in New York City schools. By 1991, two-thirds of New York City schools still had no licensed arts or music teachers.

In 1993, Ambassador Walter Annenberg announced the single largest gift ever made to American public education: The Annenberg Challenge,[4] a half-billion dollar, five-year challenge grant designed to support promising efforts at school reform throughout the country. In a collaboration, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Board of Education envisioned a five-year plan, The Annenberg Arts and Education Initiative,[5] to initiate arts education reform. This plan, created under the guidance of consulting firm Artsvision, proposed a sustainable model for institutionalizing arts education in New York City public schools.

In March 1996, The Annenberg Foundation approved the proposal[6] and The Center for Arts Education was created to administer the initiative, serve as a liaison and oversee the distribution of funding to New York City’s schools. The Annenberg plan established The Center for Arts Education as an independent agency that was administratively distinct from the New York City Board of Education. The initiative began with a two-to-one $12 million Challenge Grant from the Annenberg Foundation, to be matched by a $12 million investment each from the public and private sectors, for a total $36 million.

In 2001 The Annenberg Foundation provided another $12 million to CAE to continue revitalizing arts education. This challenge grant was to be matched by an additional $12 million that would be used to fund additional rounds of Partnership grants. CAE also used this second challenge grant to fund new programs that would permit parents to take part in arts education, expose teenagers to arts careers, and enable existing Partnership schools to share their successes with other schools.

CAE and Public School Reform[edit]

The cornerstone of the Annenberg Challenge effort was the creation of "arts partnerships" in which schools, working with orchestras, museums, dance groups, theater companies, community-based organizations and other groups to institutionalize school-wide arts programs and promote school reform. In 1997, 81 of New York City’s public schools were awarded the first of these three-year "Partnership Grants" to form collaborations with cultural and community-based organizations, creating an arts curricula tailored to meet the individual needs of each school. By supporting the use of the New York City’s cultural resources, CAE provided a link that made institutions, ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Pregones Theater Company in the South Bronx, an integral part of the public school system.

Over one-third of the New York City’s public schools applied for the $75,000 partnership grants through CAE, and while 81 schools did receive a grant, hundreds did not receive funding. In response, the New York City Board of Education, with support from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, created Project ARTS, the first system-wide per capita funds for the arts since the mid-seventies.[7] Project ARTS, used for the training and hiring of arts teachers as well as arts supplies, would also lay the groundwork for the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, the first citywide arts curriculum since the period of cutbacks.[8]


The Center for Arts Education offers family engagement programs, professional development opportunities for the education industry, and career development training for high school students. CAE’s programs include:

Parents As Arts Partners (PAAP) Grant: a grant offered by CAE to support arts activities for parents and their children. The PAAP grant, which funds 150 schools throughout New York City’s five boroughs, engages families with hands-on interactive arts experiences, including workshops with Teaching artists and visits to cultural organizations.

Career Development Program (CDP): provides New York City public high school students with school-to-career preparation and work experience in the creative industries. Through CDP students gain access to the creative industries with career training that results in an internship in the arts. In 2007 CAE created a website that expands the reach of CDP beyond New York City to engage students, teachers and mentors in the many career opportunities available in the creative industries. CAE also offers careers in the Arts Summer Institute (CITASI) to offer students, teachers, counselors, administrators and parents a deeper awareness of the many career opportunities available in the creative industries.

School Arts Support Initiative (SASI): launched in Spring 2008 in partnership with The New York Times Company Foundation and the New York City Department of Education to provide funding and additional in-kind professional support to three New York City public schools with little or no arts education. SASI grants are being used to help MS 267: Math, Science and Technology Institute in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, JS 231: Magnetech/Tri-Community Jr. High School in southeastern Queens and MS 223: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx to assess their arts education needs, engage appropriate providers of arts education and then implement arts education curricula for their students.


“My Child, the Arts and Learning: A Guide for Parents, PreK-Second Grade” was published in August 2007 in nine different languages. CAE created the guide to help parents understand the benefits of and need for arts education. The guide provides parents with resources including, New York City and New York State arts requirements, which states every public school child is legally entitled to receive arts education in school. “My Child, the Arts and Learning: A Guide for Parents, PreK-2nd Grade” was widely distributed throughout public schools in New York City and through the New York Public Library.[9]

"A Decade of Progress" is a comprehensive 88 page report published by CAE in September 2007. "A Decade of Progress" chronicles the history and movement to restore arts education in New York City public schools. The publication includes a companion DVD "A Decade of Progress" DVD Nominated for ARTS PROGRAMING AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE by Ovation (TV channel), December 13, 2007 narrated by Anna Deavere Smith and provides exclusive segments with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then-School’s Chancellor Joel Klein, and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten about the importance of and need for arts education in schools and the community.

Recognizing Excellence in the Arts In September 2007, CAE launched “ArtSmart New York"[10] an advocacy campaign intended to raise awareness about arts education. CAE awarded New York City Council Members Robert Jackson (NYC) and Dominic Recchia the first “ArtSmart” award for their continued support of arts education in New York City public schools.

CAE Leadership[edit]

CAE formed a Board of Directors to include representatives from the private and public sector, including the schools’ Chancellor Rudy Crew, the former Mayor of the City of New York Rudolph Giuliani,[11] and the Commissioner of the City of New York Cultural Affairs. Of the current New York City administration, Chancellor Joel Klein, the Mayor of the city of New York Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Kate D. Levin represent CAE’s public sector leadership in their Board of Directors. Richard Kessler, Former Executive Director of CAE, was also one of the principal authors of the plan that led to the creation of the CAE in 1996 when he was serving as an arts education consultant for Artsvision.

CAE's Board of Directors also features leading members of New York City's civic, cultural and business communities, including:
Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Chairman, Board of Directors of Ballet Hispanico
Richard A. Barasch, Chairman and CEO of Universal American Financial Corporation
Jill Braufman, Board Chair, The Center for Arts Education
Schuyler Chapin, Former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, In Memoriam.
Kitty Carlisle-Hart, In Memoriam
Judith K. Dimon, Chairman of the Education Advisory Board at Children's Aid Society
Peter Duchin, President of Peter Duchin Orchestras Inc.
John J. Hannan, Apollo Management LP
Laurie M. Tisch, Chair Emeritus
Bruce Silverstein, Owner Bruce Silverstein Gallery


2010 Bronze Telly Award for the documentary video MS 223: The Power of Arts Education [12]
2007 Bronze Telly Award for the documentary video A Decade of Progress: 1996-2006 [13]
2002 NYC Governor’s Arts Award
2001 The Arts and Business Council Visionary Award presented to CAE Board Chair Laurie Tisch
2001 New York State Assembly Citation
2000 The Arts and Business Council Encore Award presented to former Executive Director Hollis Headrick
2000 Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declares Thursday, March 15, 2001 as “The Center for Arts Education Day”


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′13″N 73°59′31″W / 40.75361°N 73.99190°W / 40.75361; -73.99190