Almost five years ago, a small group of visionaries decided to make a dramatic to the art ecosystem of Napa Valley. It seemed like “the impossible” to many but these arts advocates formed a dynamic public-private partnership that has overcome countless obstacles. Their quest was to equitably and sustainably improve the state of arts education for students in Napa Valley. By always keeping in mind “what is good for the child,” they crossed hurdle after hurdle and minds have been changed. The power of the connections they had formed are making their altruistic work become reality.
In 2013, the Arts Council Napa Valley created the ACNV Education Alliance to assess the state of arts education in Napa County. The public-private alliance is made up of educators, students, arts administrators and community volunteers who worked tirelessly to understand the local arts education landscape and identify gaps that needed to be addressed.
In 2014, the Arts Education Master Plan was inspired by Arts Council Napa Valley’s vision for countywide arts education access. In the fall of 2015, a $50,000 grant from Education Alliance partner Festival Napa Valley propelled the ACNV, the Education Alliance partners, and NVUSD to commission the Arts Education Master Plan, which presents a comprehensive framework for the development of the TK-12 sequential, standards-based arts education curriculum.
In May of 2017, NVUSD Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sweeney announced the appointment of Chuck Neidhoefer as the Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator (VAPA Coordinator). This new administrative position is being co-funded through a pledge to raise $150,000 over three years by ACNV, Festival Napa Valley, Napa Valley Education Foundation and other Ed Alliance partners. Neidhoefer is overseeing a team of arts educators to design the curriculum during the 2016/2017 school year. For the first time, NVUSD will have a point person to lead the charge on sustaining and growing arts education opportunities for all students.
Many private entities have come together to make this possible, including premier funder Festival Napa Valley, as well as, Napa Valley Education Foundation, Napa Valley Community Foundation, Sato Family Foundation, Notes for Education, and Arts Council Napa Valley.