Seattle Public Schools Arts Newsletter   | May, 2020
This issue includes:

  • COVID-19 Updates
  • Art Kits for SPS students at home
  • On-line arts events and lessons from Creative Advantage arts partners
  • Funding opportunities for Community Arts Partners:

Photo at right: Art by a Rising Star Elementary student of teacher, Elaine Dondoyano. From an SPS Learning Packet visual art lesson on line.
Creative Advantage COVID-19 Updates
The closure of Seattle schools starting on March 12th has been an enormous challenge for all of our arts learning community while at the same time offering opportunities to teach, learn and create in innovative ways, and most important, to face existing inequities in arts learning head on. Below you’ll find information on how Creative Advantage schools and partners are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and how we are responding together as a community.

School Arts Planning:  School arts planning meetings can either happen remotely this spring over Teams/Zoom or can be postponed until next Fall. The school leader and their Arts Leaderships Coach should mutually decide which is appropriate for their schools arts team.

Interrupted Partnership Contracts with Creative Advantage partners:  Partnerships can be re-designed for distance learning or postponed until next year.  More information.

Current Creative Advantage partnerships funding:  Per our partner, the Office of Arts & Culture, all unspent Creative Advantage funds held by schools will be rolled into next year. More information about partnerships funds here.

Regional Arts Festivals:  The Southeast and Central Regional Arts Festivals were cancelled, but we are still going to celebrate our student artists. We will either re-schedule the festivals for winter, 2021 or, if public gatherings are still not possible, we will organize a virtual arts festival. Speaking of virtual arts festivals, more information will come later this month about the upcoming virtual Naramore Art Show!

Arts Integration Professional Development Series All Arts Integration Workshops that were scheduled for March 10th and beyond have been cancelled while schools are closed due to Covid-19. Once schools are open again, we will coordinate with our arts integration partners and the SPS professional development department to reschedule all of cancelled workshops. 

This information is also on the Creative Advantage Covid Updates page of the SPS website . We will continue updating this site. If you have a critical question that is not answered here, please email
Creative Advantage Art Kits for Students
Mercer art teacher, Toni Brooks handing out art kits last Monday.
This time has been a challenge for everyone. Families have been scrambling to keep their children engaged in learning and also to support their children's social-emotional needs in a stressful time. Engaging in the arts helps with both, but some of our families don't have basic art materials like crayons, paper and scissors.

The very first day that Seattle Schools were closed, Creative Advantage staff got a message from Julie Trout, art teacher at John Muir Elementary, who had been working on take home art activities to send home with her students on the last day before the closure. " A huge issue I ran into with very little notice on Wednesday was to create take home activities etc when many of our families do not have supplies at home."
Thanks to funds already made available from the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who have been supporting SPS' partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority, we were able to act fast to place an order for art materials from Blick Art Materials in Capitol Hill. Blick offered to donate a number of the supplies that are going into the kits.

Three different kits were designed by SPS teachers to engage pre-school, elementary and secondary students and staff from schools, Early Learning, School Community Partnerships, Curriculum and Instruction, Warehouse and Publishing Services ensured that kits would reach:

  • 200 students in 5 shelters
  • 1,550 students at 24 affordable rental housing sites run by seven housing partner
  • 67 students at child care providers operating in schools that stepped up to provide child care to our first responders and other essential workers
  • 1,500 students enrolled in art classes at 28 middle and high schools

Since this all started almost two months ago, I keep coming across this quote from Brené Brown: “ Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, and transform despair into hope.” I am inspired to see so many people and organizations in Seattle come together right now to support our kids with the tools they need to stay creative and engaged.
Distance Arts Learning from SPS
Since schools closed, SPS Visual and Performing Arts staff and teachers have been creating videos and lesson packets for art, general and instrumental music, theatre and dance that reach students online and through SPS lunch sites across Seattle every week.
Check them out on SPS TV and on the SPS Learning Resources webpage .

Teachers are also stretching themselves to provide distance learning in the arts for their own students in challenging times. This is where the skills we've developed through the arts shine - the iterative artistic process, seeing things from multiple perspectives, creative problem solving, showing vulnerability and grace are serving us every minute of every day. Thank you for all that you are doing, teachers and school staff!
Online Youth Events and Lessons from CA Roster Partners

As soon as schools were closed, Creative Advantage arts partners got to work to ensure that youth (and adults too) get arts learning while at home.

Find lessons from many of your favorite teaching artists and organizations here .

And coming soon:
Over 100 on-line videos by our teaching artists as part of The Creative Advantage Online produces by the Office of Arts & Culture, Reel Grrls and NFFTY + 24 new partners to be added to The Creative Advantage Roster for next year.
Funding Opportunities
For Arts Partners:
FEPP Levy K-12 Opportunity and Access Investment

To be considered for funding, eligible applicants are invited to submit applications by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2020. 

For Arts Partners:
ArtsWA CARES Act Relief Grants Deadline May 31

ArtsWA is providing rapid-response funding to non-profit and fiscally sponsored arts groups and organizations that are facing financial hardship due to economic impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for application information.

As you work to expand the arts in your school community, here are a few websites and people you can look to for help:

The Creative Advantage Page on the SPS website
Resources and tools for arts teams, Creative Advantage news and archived newsletters.

The Community Arts Partner Roster is a vetted list of teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations approved to work in Seattle Public Schools through the Creative Advantage.

The Creative Advantage Website Provides an overview of The Creative Advantage and the value of arts education.

If you can't find what you need on-line, contact the Creative Advantage staff:
Audrey Querns -SPS project manager for Creative Advantage (for questions about arts teams and planning, arts partner logistics like contracts and funding)
Tina LaPadula - Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Arts Education Manager (for questions about the Arts Partner Roster and working with teaching artists and arts organizations) 

Gail Sehlhorst -SPS Visual and Performing Arts Manager (for questions about arts staffing, curriculum and assessment, and supports for arts teachers)

Ashraf Hasham -Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Youth Arts Manager

Pam Ivezic - SPS Music Specialist (for questions about supports for music teachers and programs)

Masao Yamada - Regional Arts Festival Event Manager (for questions about participating in the 2019-20 Southwest, Southeast or Central Regional Arts Festivals this Winter)