Minnesota is one of three states chosen for the next phase of Turnaround Arts, a national initiative that uses the arts to improve student performance.
The Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley will direct the two-year program, with funding from the State Arts Board and the Minnesota Legislature.
Four schools statewide will be chosen to participate and will receive arts-education resources and expertise that involves local artists and cultural organizations. The selection of schools is expected to be completed within the next month.
The Perpich Center will help teachers and principals develop a strategic plan in the first phase of the program, and then schools will decide what teaching artists they need to accomplish their goals. Three national celebrities — actor Sarah Jessica Parker, actor/rapper Doc Shaw (Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”) and songwriter Clarence Greenwood (aka Citizen Cope) — will visit the state as part of the program.
State Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, and Sue Mackert, executive director of the Perpich Center, traveled to Washington, D.C., for the announcement of Minnesota’s participation. Cohen serves on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which was involved in selecting Minnesota, California and Louisiana for the program. In addition, Boston, Chicago and Des Moines were chosen.
“We have extensive research suggesting the correlation between arts education and academic achievement,” Cohen said in a statement. “The difference the arts can make is significant and can truly turn around a school’s trajectory.”
The Legislature approved $750,000 for the program in the session just ended, said Perpich spokeswoman Debra Kelley. In addition, the Arts Board has committed $300,000 in grants to the schools.
The Perpich Center is a state agency created by the Legislature in 1985. It provides services statewide and also operates a two-year residential high school. Perpich Center’s biennial appropriation for 2014-2015 is about $6.8 million per year, said Kelley.