For Immediate Release
August 11, 2015

Contact: Steve Wilcox

Arizona Commission on the Arts Announces $45,000 Investment in Programs that Strengthen Schools through Arts Partnerships

Phoenix (August 11, 2015): The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced today that it will invest $45,000 to support substantive school/community partnerships that implement arts education and/or arts integration initiatives aimed at effecting change in low-performing schools (Arizona “D” and “F” label schools).

Three partnerships were awarded $15,000 each through the competitive grant review process:

Isaac School District and Childsplay [Phoenix]: Teaching artists from Childsplay will work with Kindergarten through 8th grade Structured English Immersion teachers at Moya Elementary and Morris K. Udall Middle School to develop drama strategies as a teaching tool, in order to accelerate students’ acquisition of English, especially in the areas of vocabulary, speaking, and listening.

Tucson Unified School District and Arts Integration Solutions [Tucson]: Arts Integration Solutions will train classroom teachers at Holladay Magnet Elementary School in the use of their Embody Learning technique—a lesson development model that engages students in physically active learning, using strategies derived from dance, theater, visual arts, literature/storytelling, and music.

Tucson Unified School District’s Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) and Odaiko Sonora [Tucson]: Building on the success of their two-year-old program of taiko instruction at Morgan Maxwell School, Odaiko Sonora will establish and implement a taiko drumming program at Cavett Elementary School focused specifically on the integration of math skills.

Grant applications were reviewed within a rigorous panel process led by Carol Crocket, Vice President of Development/Donor Relations at Hospice of the Valley and Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Panelists included:

  • Eve Morgana Cooper, Community Arts Director, International Sonoran Desert Alliance
  • Don Dolin, Title I Specialist, Arizona Department of Education
  • David Garcia, Associate Professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
  • Carrie Giovannone, Deputy Associate Superintendent of Research and Evaluation, Arizona Department of Education
  • Daniel Hernandez, Governing Board President, Sunnyside Unified School District
  • Robert Panzer, Director of Arts Education, Peoria Unified School District
  • Angela Pinholster, Director of Elementary Education, Create Academy
  • Ya-ting Tang, Director of Program Evaluation, Arizona Department of Education

Grant funding is provided by the State of Arizona and funding awarded annually to the Arts Commission by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“A tremendous body of research stands behind the benefits of arts education for students, including improved academic performance, greater leadership and social skills, advanced creative problem-solving skills, and overall enhanced ability to compete in a 21st Century workforce,” said Alex Nelson, Director of Arts Learning at the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

“Research and case studies also show the transformative effects that leveraging community resources can have, providing schools with the support they need to implement new (or to grow existing) programs. A strong partnership with an arts or cultural organization can provide a struggling school with much-needed infrastructure, teacher professional development, access to additional funding sources, and more.”

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizona citizens; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

For more information about the grants, services and programs of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, visit

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502.

Images available upon request.