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Arts Access Initiative
SUMMARY OF 2015-2016: Click here for a one-page summary of the impact of the Arts Access Initiative's work throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.
EXPANSION FOR 2016-2017: The Arts Access Initiative has expanded to 25 campuses for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Learn more about this expansion at the following link: HISD News Blog.  
HOUSTON PUBLIC MEDIA FEATURE: Houston Public Media recently highlighted the AAI's emphasis on arts integration in other content areas.  Here's a link to their feature story: Houston Public Media.
The Arts Access Initiative is a process by which Houston ISD will ensure equity of arts access in all of its schools.  This work emerges after more than a year of planning, data gathering, and consensus-building among diverse sectors of Houston's communities.  Click here for an infographic roadmap of the Arts Access Initiative.
The following four-minute video highlights how Houston is coming together so that all HISD students have access to arts-rich and creative experiences.
Kennedy Center and the Arts Access Initiative
Houston and the coalition between HISD and the Arts Access Initiative are members of the Any Given Child program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  Selected because of their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of education in and through the arts, the community participates in collaborative efforts to provide equity and access in arts education for all students.
In August 2015, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts joined Mayor Annise Parker and HISD leaders to announce Houston's selection for the Any Given Child program.  For HISD's recap of the announcement, please visit HISD Blog.  
For additional coverage of the announcement, please visit the following links:
It Takes A Village: AAI Steering Committee and Working Groups
The Arts Access Initiative's work is driven by the expertise and insight of multi-sector leaders who serve on the Steering Committee and Working Groups. These cross-sector groups recommend strategies in the design, communication, direction and implementation of the work, which will guide the Initiative closer to achieving our vision for arts education in our city.  
Visit Arts Access Initiative - Collective Impact to learn more about these groups and to access minutes from previous meetings.
HISD's Innovative Curriculum Department is specifically leading a team to create a district-wide Creative Schools Designation.  This team is co-chaired by Adam Stephens, Officer of Advanced Academics, and Douglas Torres-Edwards, Arts Access District Coordinator.  Learn more about the team and its work by visiting the School Capacity and Engagement Leadership Team webpage.  
AAI Featured at the HISD 2016 State of the Schools Event
The Arts Access Initiative was recently featured at HISD's 2016 State of the Schools event.  The district thanks MECA, Houston Symphony, and FotoFest: Literacy Through Photography for showcasing their impact in HISD schools at the event.  In tandem with the event, HISD released a follow-up story about AAI's efforts this academic year, as well as AAI's plan to expand to 25 campuses in 2016-2017.  Check out the follow-up story by visiting HISD News Blog.   

August Professional Development for New AAI Campuses

The Arts Access Initiative is providing three hours of foundational professional development to all faculty members of new AAI campuses this August.  This opportunity emphasizes arts integration as a tool to buttress instruction in other content areas.  Click here to review the August PD schedule for new AAI campuses.  
Edúcalos Spanish-Language Segment on AAI at Hartsfield Elementary
The Arts Access Initiative proudly supports HISD's efforts to expand dual language programming.  We are proud of our work at Hartsfield Elementary, and we invite you to learn more by watching the brief Spanish-language segment below.

Contact Us

Douglas Torres-Edwards
Arts Access District Coordinator
Advanced Academics
Phone: 713-556-6856
Deborah Lugo
Arts Access Initiative Director
Young Audiences of Houston
Phone: 713-520-9267
Jennifer Datray
Project Manager
Advanced Academics
Phone: 713-556-6823
Young Audiences of Houston, Arts for Learning, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the backbone organization and fiscal agent for the Arts Access Initiative. 

Arts Access Initiative Campuses

  • Atherton Elementary 15
    Bastian Elementary 16
    Benbrook Elementary 15
    Codwell Elementary 16
    Cornelius Elementary 16
    Eliot Elementary 15
    Fleming Middle Schol 16
    Fonville Middle School 16
    Hamilton Middle School 15
    Hartsfield Elementary 15
    Highland Heights Elementary 16
    Hines-Caldwell Elementary 15
    Kashmere Gardens Elementary 15
    Kennedy Elementary 16
    Lyons Elementary 16
    Mading Elementary 16
    Memorial Elementary 15
    Mitchell Elementary 15
    Northline Elementary 16
    Park Place Elementary 16
    Pugh Elementary 16
    Roberts Elementary 16
    Scarborough Elementary 15
    Valley West Elementary 16
    Whittier Elementary 15
    15: Beginning 2015
    16: Beginning 2016

Kick-off of the Arts Access Initiative

  • The Innovative Projects team (now part of Advanced Academics) and the Arts Access Initiative held a press event in May 2015 at Kashmere Gardens Elementary School. Houston ISD is honored to partner with the Arts Access Initiative to provide equitable access to arts education across the district. The press event provided details about our partnership and the great work ahead. For a recap video of the event, visit 

    To read more about the press event, click on the following link: 

    Houston Public Media released a story about our team's partnership with the Arts Access Initiative:

    The national offices of Young Audiences Arts for Learning featured Houston ISD's partnership with the Arts Access Initiative:   

    Details about the 2015-2016 Arts Access Initiative Participant Cohort 
    For the 2015-2016 school year, the Innovative Projects team--now part of Advanced Academics--partnered with the Arts Access Initiative to provide targeted professional development experiences.  This PD enabled K-8 educators at a small group of pilot campuses to integrate arts meaningfully into subject area instruction.  In addition, the Arts Access Initiative worked with these pilot campuses to provide during-school and after-school arts experiences through diverse partnerships with arts organizations.  
    In 2013-2014, Houston ISD joined the City of Houston and Houston Arts Partners coalition organizations to establish a Community Arts Team.  The team generated research that demonstrated that arts education positively impacted student achievement and behavior data of students involved.  The research also showed that receiving arts education and live arts experiences from either full-time fine arts specialists, community arts partnerships, or after-school programs was far from the norm district-wide.