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Chautauqua Arts Education Receives Kennedy Center Contract for School Residencies Program

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has awarded a contract to Chautauqua Arts Education to continue Chautauqua Institution’s school residencies program, providing nearly $18,000 in support of the Institution’s work in Chautauqua County for students with disabilities.

These programs began in 2014, providing residencies at area BOCES Educational Centers, and have grown to provide eight residencies in 2019–20, including at LoGuidice, Hewes and Chautauqua Lake BOCES educational centers, Chautauqua Lake Central School, Southwestern Central School District, Love Elementary and Washington Middle schools in the Jamestown Public Schools, and Little Seeds Pre-School in Jamestown.

While this is the sixth Kennedy Center contract that Chautauqua Institution has received for this work, the contract for 2019–20 is the largest amount to date.

“The residencies in the BOCES Educational Centers provide the only music education that these students get during the school day,” shared Suzanne Fassett Wright, director of arts education. “Integrating music learning with English/Language Arts objectives and Social-Emotional Learning provides alternate access points to these content areas, which is very important in supporting the needs of students who have learning challenges.”

The Chautauqua Arts Education school residencies programs include “Steady Beat Books,” led by Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts Deborah Sunya Moore, and “I Can Drum,” led by Fassett Wright and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra principal percussionist Brian Kushmaul. Each residency lasts for 10 weeks in each school, with teaching artists visiting once a week. Most end with a community engagement activity inviting students’ families and community members to join in a final class, enabling students to show what they have learned.

“Not only do the students grow through music, but their teachers and families do, too,” Fassett Wright said. The school residencies will begin early in October and last throughout the rest of the 2019–20 school year.