Yesterday Yo-Yo Ma joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Board of Education President David Vitale and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to announce a $38 million arts education funding campaign fueled by private donations from the city’s business, community, cultural and philanthropic leaders. “Be Creative: The Campaign for Creative Schools,” has already raised $11 million toward its goal. The campaign supports the Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan, unveiled two years ago.

The announcement was made to a group of students and teachers gathered in the auditorium of Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen. Ma–Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra–participated in the event alongside Renee Fleming, soprano and Creative Consultant to the Lyric Opera; Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program and former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet; Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck; and Theaster Gates, a social practice installation artist and Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago.

“Under this plan, arts education is now a part of the individual school report card, and principals have an incentive to make progress each year,” said School Board President David Vitale. “CPS has begun measuring the impact of arts in all of our schools to increase access to arts education for every student. In doing so, arts education no longer is considered an enrichment program, but is seen as a key factor in student success and school improvement.”

Learn more about Be Creative: The Campaign for Creative Schools