BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City schools are getting a big boost to their art programs.

Monique Griego has more on the new grant initiative Charm City was awarded.

Shyheem Miller never considered himself an artist until the arts program at Highlandtown Elementary and Middle School encouraged him to tap into his creative talents.

“In art your whole mood changes. You can draw, free time, express your feelings,” Miller said.

Soon even more Charm City kids will have the opportunity to explore the arts.

District leaders and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Baltimore was chosen as the latest city to participate in Any Given Child, an initiative by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

“We’d like to ensure every child, kindergarten through eight, has the arts as a complete education,” said Darrell Ayers, John F. Kennedy Center.

The program brings together city and school leaders with the local art community to enhance programs within city schools.

“It’s really like taking a snapshot and seeing where are the gaps? Where are things missing? Where are children not getting any arts education?”Ayers said.

Schools will now work with program leaders to update curriculum, so that it supports academics but also encourages an artistic mind.

“Excited because it actually lets you learn more,” said a student.

“Sometimes because of funding or other reasons we can’t address or put as much emphasis on the creative aspect. With these kinds of partnerships we can,” said Nancy Fagan, Highlandtown principal.

For Miller, painting has become an outlet. He believes better art classes will help others find their passion.

“I really enjoy drawing more than I thought I did,” Miller said.

It will take around six to nine months for program leaders to assess Baltimore’s arts programs. Then after that, changes will slowly take effect at different schools.

Baltimore is the ninth city to be chosen to participate in the Any Given Child program.


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