Ben Folds, Valerie June and Taboo among artists paired with PVD schools this fall



Turnaround Arts, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,
infuses struggling schools with the arts as strategy to help close the opportunity
gap and provide equitable access to arts and music education

Washington, D.C. (May 8, 2017) – Three Providence public schools will join
Turnaround Arts, a national program that helps to close the opportunity gap by
providing equitable access to the arts, as announced today by the Providence Public
School District and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, with assistance from
the Providence Dept. of Art, Culture and Tourism. DelSesto, Gilbert Stuart and Roger
Williams Middle Schools will kick off the 2017-18 school year as three of 73 schools
in 17 states and D.C. receiving Turnaround Arts intensive arts education resources
and integration as a strategy to turn around struggling schools.

«We are thrilled to be starting this journey with Turnaround Arts because, at
Providence Public Schools, we know that not only do the arts develop fundamental
skills for academic and social success, but they offer teaching and learning
opportunities that truly engage our students and teachers.»

Turnaround Arts empowers struggling schools with innovative arts, dance, theater and
music programs, arts integration across subject areas, arts resources, musical
instruments, and high-profile artist mentors, as a proven strategy to help address
broader school challenges and turn them around.

Taboo of the music group Black Eyed Peas, singer-songwriter Valerie June and
musician Ben Folds will each adopt a Providence school as Turnaround Artist mentors.
They will be providing students with a motivational morning greeting, guidance in
their artistic endeavors, annual visits to check in on progress, and special arts
integration projects.

* Delsesto Middle School
Artist: Ben Folds

* Roger Williams Middle School
Artist: Valerie June

* Gilbert Stuart Middle School
Artist: Taboo (Black Eyed Peas)

«Now, more than ever, it’s important to shine a spotlight – as Turnaround Arts is
trying to do – on the true value of arts education to our children,» said Ben Folds.
«It’s a proven, undisputable fact that a children exposed to the arts from a young
age do better in school and in life. The economic arguments are real too. A
community that supports the arts – from its schools to its town center – are more
attractive to economic growth opportunities.»

Valerie June added, «Creativity is a universal language that brings the world to our
doorstep and inspires us to soar whether we are creating or observing. I believe it
encourages students to reach beyond their limitations and embrace the endless
possibilities of their dreams. I am looking forward to sharing my journey with the
Turnaround Arts students in Providence.»

Turnaround Arts started in 2012 as a pilot program in eight schools to test the
findings of a President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities report titled
Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.
conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed an average 12.6% improvement in reading
proficiency and 22.5% improvement in math proficiency, increases in attendance and
significant decreases in suspensions following Turnaround Arts’ infusion of the arts
into struggling schools.

«At Turnaround Arts schools nationwide, we’ve seen that equitable access to arts
education is a powerful tool in turning around struggling schools,» said Kennedy
Center President Deborah F. Rutter. «Today, we are happy to announce that not only
is Turnaround Arts continuing through a partnership with the Kennedy Center, but
also that the program will expand to schools in Richmond and Providence at the start
of next school year. I look forward to seeing the progress that these schools make
and the joy that these students will find in learning through the arts.»

Nationally, Turnaround Arts is made possible through a collaboration of government
agencies, non-profit partners, and generous corporate and private
donations. Locally Turnaround Arts
expansion to Providence is being run by Providence Public Schools in partnership
with the Dept. of Art, Culture and Tourism and a number of other area arts

Participating schools were competitively selected by program partners according to
national guidelines. Selection criteria included demonstrated need and opportunity,
strong school leadership with district support, and a commitment to arts education.
Turnaround Arts schools represent elementary and middle schools from across the
country and encompass a diversity of student demographics in urban and rural