First Lady Announces New Partnership with Kennedy Center to Support Turnaround Arts at Student Talent ShowFirst Lady Announces New Partnership with Kennedy Center to Support Turnaround Arts at Student Talent Show

Students from Turnaround Arts schools nationwide performed for First Lady Michelle Obama, their peers, and artist mentors at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show to showcase the power of arts education. First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the show announcing an expansion of Turnaround Arts program, and a strategic partnership between the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that will ensure that Turnaround Arts continues to thrive for years to come. Students from Hawai’i and California to New York and D.C. sang, danced, played music, and performed spoken word alongside their Turnaround Artist mentors including Keb’ Mo’, Tim Robbins, Bernie Williams, Damian Woetzel, Charles "Lil Buck" Riley, Paula Fuga, Irvin Mayfield, and more.

“President Obama's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has made reinvesting in arts education- particularly in America’s struggling schools a primary focus,” said the President’s Committee Co-Chairs George Stevens, Jr. and Margo Lion. “The committee's renowned Turnaround Arts program shows that our most fragile schools can be transformed through an infusion of the arts.”

Since its inception as a pilot program in 2012 with eight schools, the program’s success will have propelled its growth to 68 schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia at the start of the next school year. In addition to announcing this expansion, the First Lady also revealed a new strategic partnership between the PCAH and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts would carry the program forward past this Administration.  The new partnership will help realize the President's Committee’s vision for expanding Turnaround Arts and aligns with the Kennedy Center’s more than 40-year legacy of providing high-quality arts education programming across the nation.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Obama signed into law in December 2015, provides funding and guidance to include the arts and music as part of a “well-rounded” education. “This year's White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show is a celebration; now all struggling schools, through ESSA, have the opportunity to put the arts back into education and transform their schools,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, President of Spelman College and Vice Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Read more.