Portland schools move to strengthen student interest in arts

PORTLAND —Several local organizations are making it their mission increase students’ access to art both in and out of the classroom.

Founded in 2012, Culture Club-Portland is a collaboration of four arts organizations with a goal of connecting students to the arts. Together, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Ovations and Portland Stage Company work to provide better access for K-12 students to the organizations.

And now, a new ad hoc committee is the latest step in the organization’s efforts to get art into students’ lives.

Funded by $200,000 annually from an anonymous Portland donor, Culture Club – along with the Portland Education Foundation, which serves as the Club’s fiscal agent – has worked to bring arts programming into schools and allow the students to access the organizations free of charge.

Kate Snyder, the executive director of PEF, on Monday said the idea of establishing a Culture Club-Portland Ad Hoc Committee came up last summer as a way to look at the past three years and see where improvements can be made. The Maine Evaluation Collaborative at the University of Southern Maine has written reports on the program in each of its first three years, and recommended establishing the ad hoc committee.

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