“Art is for everybody… It is not something that you should have to go to the museums in order to see and enjoy.” — Ruth Asawa
Observe, imagine, create, share, reflect… begin again.
In the summer of 2005, Rooftop Alternative K-8 School received word that the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, an affiliate of the Lincoln Center Institute, was no more. The JMCA board of directors had made a fateful decision – They would no longer be in the business of arts education. Since 2001, thanks to the support of JMCA, Bay Area school communities had benefited from:
- the selection of challenging works of live art for study
- student performances and field trips to engage with art
- extensive teacher professional development
- curriculum development with inquiry-based, hands-on arts experiences
- residencies partnering classroom teachers with teaching artists.
- significant grant funding secured to support the arts at schools sites.
- the nurturing of a diverse, committed community of arts advocates
The Rooftop arts team was faced with big decision. Would we abandon this successful concept-based arts education model that was thriving at the school or would we keep the program going on our own?
We saw the tremendous learning that this arts education model program brought to our school, and we decided to try to keep moving the work forward on our own.
Rooftop’s ART IS… program began in 2006 with an all-school study of the work of artist Ruth Asawa. Today, the art team at Rooftop School remains committed to the value of art education and the design of collaborative journeys that encourage exploration, discovery, discussion and reflection on the value of arts education.
We are grateful that the arts have enriched our lives, and we continue to explore the importance of the arts to the human experience. At the same time, we are all too aware of today’s realities of shrinking budgets, limited time and access. If every child is to have access to the arts, regardless of funding, geography or gatekeepers, we must be willing to work together as advocates for arts education.