Strategic arts plan launches at Dunbar
By Shannon Lee
In collaboration with local arts and equity consulting group Kimzin Creative, and using kick-off funding provided by the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Dunbar Elementary School has launched a new arts program that will serve students in every grade, kindergarten through fifth.
Dunbar Elementary School has a rich history of embracing the arts. From a thirty-year run of the annual fifth-grade melodrama, to poetry programs, muralling, art at lunch, and dance and visual arts in afterschool programs, the school has often been described as an “unofficial” arts magnet. This new program builds from, and draws on, Dunbar’s arts integration history.
The dunbART (Dunbar Strategic Arts) plan was designed to help students counter social isolation, improve academic engagement, develop self-expression skills, and instill confidence in learning through increased access and depth of knowledge in arts education. Starting in February, the new strategic arts plan will provide Dunbar students with over 150 hours of free arts programming, including disciplines such as ceramics, sculpture, painting, drawing, mosaics, instrumental music, sewing, and more.
“When the Ed Foundation put out the call for youth arts programs that would bring much-needed joy and creativity to children this year, we couldn’t have dreamed of the kind of collaboration that the Dunbar Strategic Arts pilot promises,” said Angela Ryan, executive director of Valley Education Foundation. “Sonoma Valley is lucky to have such talented and dedicated creative arts organizations, and Dunbar students and staff will benefit from the unique vision that this program will bring to life. We’re thrilled to be a partner in making it happen.”
“We are so excited to take Dunbar’s rich history of the arts at school in a new direction,” Dunbar Interim Principal Katherine Hahn added. “This is an opportunity to be able to offer robust arts programming for our students, and we look forward to working together in partnership with these community organizations.” dunbART’s strategic approach includes the implementation of Sonoma County’s Arts Education Framework, published by the Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance; professional development opportunities for staff and partner organizations; visual and performing arts mentorship for Dunbar teachers; access to artsintegrated curriculum; and the collaboration of multiple community arts organizations for curated, on-site programming. These free art programs will take place in class, during lunch, and after school. dunbART has created partnerships with Dunbar staff, Kimzin Creative, Creative Bridges, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Valley Vibes Orchestra, Art Escape, and the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley. The intention is that the program at Dunbar will act as a pilot or model project for future expansion into other Valley schools and beyond.
Half the total funds for dunbART have been contributed by the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. A campaign has begun to acquire additional funding to ensure program success. The Friends of Dunbar PTO is currently accepting donations and sponsorships. If interested in donating or inquiring about the program, contact the front office at Dunbar School at (707) 935-6070, or Kimzin Creative at [email protected]