February is for Arts Lovers 

Welcome to the Valentine's Day edition of our e-newsletter! During this season of romance and love, there is one thing that all of us share in common as supporters of Any Given Child Sarasota, and that is a passion for the arts.

Whether it was hearing Mozart performed by a live symphony, being left spellbound by the actors in a local theatre production, or simply staring in awe while viewing great works of art during a visit to the museum, all of us remember our early experiences with the arts. Looking back, chances are you now can see how those experiences went on to move and shape your life in ways you might never have imagined at the time.

Providing such transformative opportunities for children to experience and learn from the arts is what Any Given Child Sarasota is all about. We are both honored and proud to have your support as we continue our mission to bring the arts and arts-integrated learning to life for K-12 students in Sarasota County Schools.

So this Valentine's Day, thank you for helping share your love of the arts with Any Given Child and for all of the opportunities you help provide for students in Sarasota County Schools!

(Photo at left: Students from Garden Elementary School in Venice attend "Superhuman in Sarasota," an arts experience for local elementary school students provided by The Ringling in partnership with Any Given Child.) 


New Programs Launched at Venice and Woodland Middle Schools

Students at Venice Middle School and Woodland Middle School in North Port have more opportunities to experience music thanks to Any Given Child Sarasota and a $15,000 grant from the John and Mary Doherty Charitable Fund at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant helped purchase instructional materials and a conductor for both programs.

"The response to these new programs has been tremendous," says Any Given Child Program Director Brian Hersh. "Through their introduction and our other ongoing efforts, Any Given Child is continuing to ensure that students throughout Sarasota County have expanded access to quality arts programs and experiences throughout their elementary, middle and high school years."

(Photo at left: Students in the new orchestra program at Woodland Middle School in North Port rehearse with their instructor, Chris Riley.)


Notes from the National Any Given Child Exchange  

Any Given Child Sarasota Program Director Brian Hersh, along with Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director of The Hermitage Artist Retreat, and Cindy Balistreri, Education Manager for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, recently attended the national Any Given Child Exchange hosted by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Exchange offers Any Given Child leaders and community partners from around the country an opportunity to come together and share ideas about how to expand arts experiences and arts-integrated educational programming.

Among the highlights from this year's Exchange were discussions about how to better measure the impact of arts education programs at the local level as well as how to foster lasting collaborations between arts organizations. The exchange also featured addresses by Ayanna Hudson, Director of Arts Education for the
National Endowment for the Arts, and Deborah F. Rutter, who took over as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this past August.

(Photo at left: Cindy Balestreri, Bruce Rodgers and Brian Hersh with Barbara Shepherd, Director of National Partnerships for The Kennedy Center.) 


Job Openings: Program Manager & Arts Integration Specialist

As reported last fall, Any Given Child Sarasota and Sarasota County Schools were recently awarded a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help increase student academic performance in reading, writing, math and science through arts-integrated instruction.

As part of the grant, Any Given Child Sarasota is currently seeking to hire both a program manager and an experienced arts-integration specialist to coordinate and lead professional development throughout the district. Both positions are full-time and will begin as soon as possible. The program manager's position is primarily an administrative role, while the arts-integration specialist will provide hands-on coaching, training and mentorship in creating and teaching arts-integrated lesson plans throughout the district.

If you know of someone who would be a good fit for either of these positions, please have them visit 
Sarasota County Schools job openings for more information. 


Ambassadors Needed: Help Us Spread Love of the Arts

Any Given Child Sarasota is looking for ambassadors to help us spread the word about the value of arts experiences and arts-integrated learning in Sarasota County Schools, and we need your help.

Do you belong to a civic organization, social, alumni or cultural club with members who might be interested in supporting our cause? Or would you be willing to host a party in your home for friends who love the arts and education?  If so, we would like to hear from you.

Contact Any Given Child Program Director Brian Hersh at for more details and to discuss speaking engagements with your group.


Change a Life
through the Arts

There are so many ways you can help Any Given Child Sarasota achieve its mission of developing and building high-quality arts education programs and instruction in our local schools. Whether it is sponsoring arts experiences for students, helping fund a new school program in the arts, or supporting professional development workshops for teachers, we can assist you in identifying giving opportunities that match your personal interests and goals.

Contact Any Given Child Program Director 
Brian Hersh at for more information. Or make a gift today by visiting our online donation page on the Community Foundation of Sarasota County website and selecting the "Any Given Child Fund."

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