The Starr Foundation Awards $1.5 Million for Arts-Education Program

Posted on May 21, 2007

New York, NY — New York City-based Young Audiences has announced a one-year, $1.5 million grant from the Starr Foundation, also in New York, to further its Arts for Learning Lessons program.

Young Audiences will use the largest grant in its 54-year history to help fund the program, which provides five thousand children with arts-based literacy instruction at its sixteen chapters. Additional support for the initiative comes from the Dana, Ford, William Randolph Hearst, William and Flora Hewlett, and Sequoia foundations.

According to Young Audiences national executive director Richard Bell, studies have shown that students’ participation in arts activities informed by academic standards and objectives yields lasting benefits. A recent independent study of elementary school students in three school districts found that student participants in the program made substantial gains on literacy tests compared to students who did not participate, and also considered the lessons to be easier and more enjoyable than those in the standard curriculum.

“The Starr Foundation’s generosity will help [us] extend the reach of the Arts for Learning Lessons program in order to help elementary students achieve higher level reading skills…and raise student achievement on state and local literacy standards,” Bell said. “Young Audiences is committed to using the arts [to help children] reach their full potential both in and out of the classroom.”