Boston Public Schools Receive $1.5 Million Arts Education Grant

It came from the Wallace Foundation in New York City.

boston public schools

Boston Public Schools buses photo by Allie_Caulfield via Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s been a pretty good week for the arts in Boston, as both federal and private organizations have shown their support for local arts programming and education through a number of grants.

Earlier this week, many of Boston’s arts institutions—the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet, and Huntington Theatre Company, to name a few—received thousands of dollars in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, which were also awarded to museums and other programs elsewhere in Massachusetts.

Today, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the Wallace Foundation is awarding a $1.5 million grant to the Boston Public School Arts Expansion Initiative. The Wallace Foundation is based in New York City and was founded by DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, the couple who also founded Reader’s Digest.

“We know high-quality arts education provides important benefits to students—from exposure to new perspectives to helping them learn how to learn,” said Daniel Windham, director of Arts at the Wallace Foundation in a press release. “Boston has made substantial progress in improving access to arts education for all students, and we are pleased to join local foundations to help sustain the progress made.”

The BPS Arts Expansion Initiative began in 2009 as a collaboration among Boston Public Schools, education nonprofit EdVestors, local and national funders, and arts and cultural organizations. Since then, public funds supporting arts education have grown from $15 million annually through the BPS budget to $26 million this school year. The funds have allowed for the hiring of 120 additional BPS arts teachers over the past six years.

“The BPS Arts Expansion effort is an excellent model of true public/private partnership that is benefiting students in the Boston Public Schools,” said BPS superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang. “Our schools are focusing on the arts in a way that they never have thanks in large part to our partnership with private donors, and our students are reaping the rewards of that generosity.”

Prior to its most recent grant, the Wallace Foundation had already invested $4.8 million in the initiative. The new $1.5 million grant will fund the ongoing partnership between BPS and EdVestors to implement new approaches to arts instruction, curriculum and professional development for teachers, partnership coordination, and family engagement.