Einstein students first to benefit from CLARA arts education partnership

e-Connections Post Albert Einstein
Sac Prep Guitar Project

This month, the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts (CLARA) and SCUSD launch the next step of their innovative partnership – delivery of arts education to students in the district.

Students at Albert Einstein Middle School are among the first to reap the benefits with teaching artists from Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy providing music lessons.

“It’s exciting to be a part of CLARA’s extended growth of arts education to Sacramento City Unified students,” said Li Ezzell, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for SCUSD. “Students at Albert Einstein are the first, and we are looking to expand to other schools in the district, giving preference to schools with a high percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students.”

Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy is the first CLARA tenant to launch their program – a 10-week introduction to music called “The Guitar Project.”

Participants are provided with weekly lessons on instrument basics: Chords, notation and a guitar to take home and practice with for the duration of the project. By the end of the program, students can play a simple song, and understand the basics necessary for playing many others.

“We are ecstatic that the vision of the partnership between the City of Sacramento, SCUSD, and CLARA is coming to fruition,” said Megan Wygant, CLARA Executive Director. “All CLARA tenants offer scholarship programs for lessons at CLARA. However, bringing programs from CLARA tenants into the schools is valuable in two-fold: Bringing performing arts back into school sites brings more creative learning to education; and students who are reliant on mass transit are more likely to participate since the programs come to their schools.”

In this inaugural year, the already-planned programs will deliver more than $15,000 of value to students – and with plans for program expansion in future years.

Additional programs by other CLARA tenants – including classes in filmmaking, Irish dance, tango and salsa – will be introduced to the school system in coming months. Teachers interested in learning how their schools can participate should contact Sacramento City Unified School District VAPA coordinator Li Ezzell at li-ezzell@scusd.edu.

CLARA is housed at the historic Fremont School at 2420 N St. in Midtown, which was donated by SCUSD after budget cuts resulted in closure of the Fremont Adult School in 2012. The relationship between SCUSD and CLARA provides support to performing arts and cultural-based tenants in the form of below-market rent. In exchange, tenants provide SCUSD schools with access to teaching artists and arts education programming. Info at www.claramidtown.org.