Turnaround Arts publicly launched its new partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on February 7th by bringing Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, and Larisa Martínez, David Garibaldi, Autumn de Forest, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Chancellor Antwan Wilson to Bunker Hill Elementary School in Northeast D.C. The school visit began with Mr. Ma, Mr. Bell, and Ms. Martínez actively participating in arts integration lessons in first and second-grade classes. The class activities were followed by a master class with the D.C. Youth Orchestra for their performances later in the day. The lively assembly that followed featured school step dance and African drumming groups, remarks by Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Wilson, a performance by the D.C. Youth Orchestra, Mr. Bell, and Mr. Ma, and finished with a live painting by David Garibaldi.
The excitement of the morning’s school visit was followed by an evening celebration at Terrace Gallery of the Kennedy Center. Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter welcomed the Turnaround Arts staff, artists, and local Turnaround Arts teams to the Kennedy Center education department. Turnaround Arts formally transitioned its major operations to the Kennedy Center in December 2016. This partnership perfectly aligns both organizations' values of service to at-risk communities and local and national arts education. Turnaround Arts will continue to be a program associated with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and the White House, though it will now be housed at the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center has a legacy of more than 40 years providing high-quality arts education programming across the nation. It now infuses Turnaround Arts with its wealth of expertise and resources.
The evening reception opened with a performance by the Savoy Players, a group from one of Turnaround Arts’ pilot schools in Southeast D.C. Ms. Rutter then acknowledged the past PCAH Executive Directors Rachel Goslins and Megan Beyer for their leadership and extensive fundraising to support the program through the next several years. She also thanked Americans for the Arts, previously the private partner providing administrative backing for Turnaround Arts, for its support. Ms. Rutter’s personal background in the arts began in elementary school and she credited her extraordinary teacher mentors as the reason for her current position. She warmly thanked all of the Turnaround Arts teachers, who were visiting from across the nation, for the important work that they do to enrich the lives of students needing the most support and typically receiving the least.
The day’s events served as a celebration of Turnaround Arts’ new partnership with the Kennedy Center, where the program will continue to thrive for years to come.