Tony Bennett Arts Education Program for Partner Schools

Through its Tony Bennett Arts Education Program, ETA makes a four-year commitment to its Partner Schools, helping them build sequential, school-day arts programs and increase out-of-school opportunities in the arts for their students. ETA currently serves a roster of 46 Partner Schools throughout New York and Los Angeles — all public high schools, a majority holding Title I designation.

THE 4-YEAR PLAN for Partner Schools

Through its core, capacity-building initiative, ETA provides funding and technical assistance over the course of four years to help principals and teachers implement strategic plans for building rigorous, school-day arts programs and curricula that lead to measurable improvements in student learning, student engagement, and program sustainability. ETA's coaches work with schools to help them identify and achieve specific goals for developing their arts programs and to equip them with the tools for more effective program administration.

Program Philosophy: Through this initiative, ETA addresses a dual need held by public schools throughout the country: 1) After decades of budget cuts to arts education, many schools lost the financial resources to keep arts programming alive; 2) Mounting pressure to devote greater time to standardized test prep and core academic subjects has pushed rigorous arts curricula to the margins, replaced by intermittent electives or clubs. ETA helps schools rebuild and advance their arts programs through a funded, multi-year strategic plan rooted in the understanding that the arts boost student engagement in school, impart transferable skills, and are worthy of study for their own intrinsic value.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Turnaround Arts is a national initiative run by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, leveraging the unique power of the arts in education to accelerate transformation in high-poverty, low-performing schools. ETA is the local program partner managing TA: NYC and is experienced in helping schools implement strategic plans for building impactful arts programs. Through TA: NYC, ETA will serve a cohort of high-need middle schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn and work to build new and strengthened music programs, arts-integrated curricula, and a viable pipeline to well-performing, arts-focused high schools throughout the City, with a special focus on neighboring ETA Partner High Schools. Together, ETA and TA will provide four years of funding and technical assistance to support the schools' development of new and sustainable curricula, family engagement initiatives, and assessment practices to improve their cultures, climates, and overall performance.

Program Philosophy: The collaboration between Exploring the Arts and Turnaround Arts fulfills their complimentary missions to transform the lives of under-served young people and low-performing schools through the arts. It also serves to pilot a new, middle - to - high school pipeline model that is unique to very large, urban school districts. With success, ETA's goal is to replicate this concept in other NYC boroughs and L.A. neighborhoods where ETA Partner High Schools with successful arts programs currently lack viable feeder programs at the middle school level.


Rooted in a Positive Youth Development framework, ETA's Arts Internship Program places 11th and 12th graders from ETA Partner Schools as paid interns in mentorship with professionals working in the arts. Students receive arts training, participate on arts management projects, attend shows, and practice setting and achieving realistic goals with the support of caring, trusted adults.

Program Philosophy: The student population ETA serves in New York and Los Angeles lacks equal access to two key experiences traditionally enjoyed by their peers in more advantaged socio-economic groups: workplace internships and engagement with their city's arts sector. As a result, they are often under-prepared for postsecondary success, uninformed of their options, and alienated from the creative industries that serve as essential economic engines to their city. ETA's program was designed to address this disparity. Through participation, students deepen their arts learning, hone transferrable skills applicable to college and career, begin to build their professional networks, and identify potential careers that include viable pathways in the arts. Most important, they gain a stronger sense of direction, self-knowledge, and possibility for their futures.

This program, formerly called ETA's Apprenticeship Program, is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 


With support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, ETA’s Lang Arts Scholars provides teens selected from ETA's NYC Partner Schools with fully-funded, intensive training in the performing arts, coupled with a wrap-around, college and career preparatory curriculum. Students participate during after-school, weekend, and summer hours for three, consecutive years.

For an annual class of 15, ETA chooses five students per performing arts discipline (music, theatre, and dance) to receive weekly training in their craft from trusted, cultural partners across their 10th, 11th, and 12th grade years. During that period, they also convene for ETA’s monthly Saturday sessions, which provide grade-appropriate, post-secondary readiness activities, such as college visits, career panels, college financing workshops, and writing intensives. Students spend the summer before 11th grade taking class on a college campus and the summer before 12th grade in a paid, office internship in arts administration.

The program aims to build a more equitable arts and culture sector by providing talented, under-served teens access to the rigorous, pre-professional opportunities key to their artistic advancement.


ETA provides arts and academic subject teachers from ETA Partner Schools with critical resources and funding to help support the arts in their classrooms. Awarded grants may be used for arts supplies and equipment, cultural field trips, and work with teaching artists.

Program Philosophy: Too many teachers harbor innovative ideas but lack the needed resources to pursue them. ETA developed this special funding opportunity to award teacher creativity that fosters student creativity!