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Monday, June 2, 2014

Our White House Visit Recap

On Tuesday, May 20th, the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts visited the White House for a special announcement by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The PCAH, which is chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama, named GRFA as the official program partner for Turnaround Arts: Louisiana, an education initiative designed to turn around low-performing schools through arts-integration, as well as boost academic achievement, motivate student learning, and improve school culture. This year, six new Turnaround Arts districts have been named across the United States.

President and First Lady Obama spoke to the attendees, congratulating the students and educators on the past successful year and welcoming new partners like GRFA to the initiative.

First Lady Michelle Obama addresses attendees at the Turnaround Arts announcement at the White House.

Using the principles of its successful Louisiana A+ Schools Program, GRFA will serve three schools as part of Turnaround Arts: Louisiana including Homer Elementary School in Homer, St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy in Greensburg, and Homer A. Plessy Community School in New Orleans. The principals from each school joined us at the White House to celebrate their school's participation in Turnaround Arts.

Kim Leavitt (Deputy Director, Louisiana A+ Schools), Jane Brown and Janice Williams (Homer Elementary), Joan Riley (Homer Plessy Charter), Bethany France (Director, Louisiana A+ Schools), Kelli Williams (St. Helena Arts & Technology Academy), Jacques Rodrigue (Executive Director, George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts) 

Presidentially-appointed Turnaround Artists will adopt each school for the length of the program, working with the schools and communities to highlight their successes. We are delighted to announce that actress Alfre Woodard and musician Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews have been selected to support our schools in Louisiana. Many other Turnaround Artists were there to celebrate the Turnaround Arts initiative.

Louisiana A+ Schools Director Bethany France with Turnaround Artist Alfre Woodard

Bethany France (Director, Louisiana A+ Schools), Jane Brown and Janice Williams (Homer Elementary), Turnaround Artist Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Kim Leavitt (Deputy Director, Louisiana A+ Schools), and Jacques Rodrigue (Executive Director, George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts)

Jacques Rodrigue with Turnaround Artist Chuck Close

GRFA and Louisiana A+ Schools are honored to inspire and engage students as part of the PCAH's Turnaround Arts program. Throughout the year, we look forward to sharing exciting news and successes of our three Turnaround Arts A+ Schools!

For more information and a complete list of Turnaround Arts schools in the U.S., please visit http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov/

About the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Created in 1982 under President Reagan, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies-National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services-as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are education, cultural exchange, and creative economy. Under the leadership of the First Lady and Honorary Chairman, and through the efforts of its federal and private members, the President's Committee has compiled an impressive legacy over its tenure, conducting major research and policy analysis, and catalyzing important federal cultural programs, both domestic and international. For more information, please visit http://www.pcah.gov/

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