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.