Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen, Ed.D., joined Camille Russell Love, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell in celebrating the 10th school year of the Cultural Experience Project (CEP) for APS students during an event at the Rialto Theater Sept. 10.
The Cultural Experience Project offers every Atlanta Public School student, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade an opportunity to visit at least one arts or cultural event in Atlanta every school year. To date, the program has provided more than 300,000 admissions to plays, concerts, dance performances and trips to museums and area attractions.
This year’s Cultural Experience Project sponsors include: Turner Broadcasting Inc., Kendeda Fund, Loridans Foundation, Trammell Foundation, Zeist Foundation, JW Foundation Fund of
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, PNC Bank and Macy’s, and representatives from these companies and organizations were in attendance for the celebration.
Dr. Carstaphen, who talked about the research on how the arts impacts student achievement during her remarks, thanked the philanthropic community for their support and told them to “expect to see more fine arts across the school district.” She also recognized APS’ curriculum and instruction staff for coordinating the field trips through the CEP.
“As we enter our tenth year of service, we want to applaud our cultural partners, cheer on our sponsors, and give a rousing ovation to the City of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools for their ongoing collaboration” said Love. “We want every APS student to have a quality, cultural experience at one of Atlanta’s premiere venues around the city.”
Dr. Carstarphen later introduced Henry Grady High School senior Nia Nkosi, who gave a student testimonial of how the program impacted her life over the past 10 years. Nkosi has participated in CEP field trips through art classes and playing in the band at Morningside Elementary, chorus class at Inman Middle School and AP art and chorus classes at Grady High. Nkosi, who is a member of the National Honor Society, said she plans to study graphic design, art or computer animation and design after high school.
City Council President Mitchell presented proclamations from the City of Atlanta to Dr. Carstarphen and Ms. Love celebrating 10 years of the Cultural Experience Project exposing cultural field trips for APS students.
After the program, 800 APS students were treated to a performance by Giwayen Mata, an award-winning dance, percussion and vocal ensemble who celebrates the richness of traditional Africa by exhibiting its art forms. In attendance were students from Booker T. Washington High School, Carver School of the Arts, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Academy High School, Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School, Mays High School, North Atlanta High School, South Atlanta School of Computer Animation and Design, South Atlanta School of Health and Medical Science and Therrell School of Law, Government and Public Policy.
The Cultural Experience Project was launched by the City of Atlanta during the 2005-2006 school year to give every Atlanta Public Schools student from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to experience the city’s premier art and cultural venues at no cost to the student. The project is funded by Atlanta’s philanthropic and fine arts community. The goal of the program is to enrich and expand the lives of students by opening up the world of arts and culture.