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Museum Trying to Keep the Arts Alive in Schools

May 18, 1991

Thank you for the article by Zan Dubin ("Proposed Arts Cuts Go Largely Unprotested," Calendar May 14) alerting your readers to the severe impact on arts education in the public schools that would result from the proposed $2-billion cut to public education.

The Newport Harbor Art Museum is well aware of the continuing erosion of arts education programs in California schools. With the support of Orange County corporations, foundations and individuals, and a zealous group of education staff members and volunteers, the museum actively has worked to provide a number of arts programs in support of the efforts of county school districts. The Partners Program, for example, will provide 17,667 hours of arts-education experience in the classroom and in the museum to more than 11,000 schoolchildren from throughout the county, this year alone.

During the last several years, through the county, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Smith Walker Foundation, and this year through Pacific Telesis, bus subsidies for museum trips have been made available to the schools to keep arts programming alive. The program is always fully booked.

In addition, Beacon Bay Enterprises Inc. annually sponsors an art competition at the museum for all county schools. This year's competition winner, Ivan Vasquez of the Santiago Elementary School in Santa Ana, created his winning entry while participating in one of the art programs slated for elimination under the proposed budget cuts.

The Newport Harbor Art Museum views the education of our children as our key priority and stands firmly behind the school districts in their search for financial support. We are fully aware that these are difficult financial times, a period of scarce resources. But basic art instruction is as integral to the education of our children as any other part of the curriculum. We are working hard to support school administrations throughout the county in their efforts to preserve critical resources and to partner with them to supplement and enrich their efforts wherever possible.

MAXINE GAIBER

Public Relations Officer

Newport Harbor Art Museum

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