Santa Barbara-based iCAN (Incredible Children’s Art Network) was recently featured by Noozhawk in a story highlighting the organization’s commitment to high-quality arts programming, coalition building with local stakeholders, and education initiatives that alleviate the disparity in arts access.
The article discussed iCAN’s commitment to providing arts education to groups that have been historically maligned by the public education system. “The iCAN story is always contextualized in the bigger sets of issues in our community, which are really about the disparity of wealth and poverty, and the disparity of the way in which resources are distributed evenly in public education,” says Jeffry Walker, iCAN executive director and Guild trustee. “The iCAN story really started with a commitment on the part of our founder to try to address that disparity in this one important sliver of education, which is the arts.”
The Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) is a nonprofit organization founded on the belief that all young people should have access to quality arts learning opportunities and that the arts are essential to the social, emotional and intellectual development of every child. The mission of iCAN is to bring high quality arts programs to children in Santa Barbara County, particularly those least likely to receive them. Founded in 2005, iCAN now serves nearly 3,000 students in eight Title I elementary schools throughout Santa Barbara. Our in-school Visual Arts Program is based on California’s visual art standards with a curriculum that utilizes specific criteria for identifying and assessing quality in an arts learning setting. In 2011, iCAN started an after-school Music Program, now serving over 100 students Grades 1-6, five days a week, at two sites. This high-intensity, El Sistema-inspired program is rooted in the belief that performing and practicing music communally creates positive social change, and that orchestras and choruses serve as engines for personal and community development.