Motion: Enhancing Arts Education in Vancouver Schools

Be it resolved:

That the Board direct staff to explore the possibility of partnering with the City of Vancouver in the creation of a “Materials for the Arts” program, with the goal of enhancing arts education within Vancouver schools, while enabling creative reuse of materials and diverting them from landfills and City waste streams.

Rationale:

The City of Vancouver is exploring the possibility of creating a “Materials for the Arts” (MFTA) program, modelled after New York City’s successful creative reuse centre, which is dedicated to supporting arts and cultural organizations, including more than 90% of New York public schools.

New York’s MFTA diverts over 1 million pounds of materials from the landfill each year by collecting reusable materials from businesses and individuals and making these donations available for free of charge to various arts, culture, non-profit, and educational organizations and individuals.

By diverting these materials from New York’s waste stream, MFTA reportedly offsets the equivalent of 25 times the CO2 emissions absorbed annually by the trees in New York’s Central Park.

New York’s MFTA program is operated by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Departments of Education and Sanitation.

The Vancouver School Board’s (VSB) vision is to inspire student success by providing an innovative, caring and responsive learning environment.

The VSB strategic plan includes the following goals and objectives:
• Goal 1: Engage our learners through innovative teaching and learning practices.
• Objectives:
• Support collaborative relationships with community partners that enhance student learning and well-being.
• Support effective communication, engagement and community partnerships.
• Implement the recommendations of the Sustainability Action Plan.

The VSB’s new Environmental Sustainability Plan includes specific goals to reduce consumption of resources and waste generation, as well as lead by example.

Research has shown that schools rich in the arts engage the whole student and promote higher levels of achievement.

Partnering with the City of Vancouver in the creation of a “Materials for the Arts” program aligns with the VSB’s vision of inspiring student success through the creation of an innovative and responsive learning environment and the VSB goals set out in the new Environment Sustainability Plan.

Partnering with the City of Vancouver could enable the VSB to save money by accessing free art materials for schools.

A collaboration of this nature is a win-win-win: educational, environmental and financial benefits.