Kelby and about 20 of Ann Rolfe's third-graders at Cerritos
Elementary School have spent the past six weeks learning about
Persian music and dance from Iranian-born Banafsheh Sayyad. Sayyad is
a Los Angeles-based professional choreographer and dancer who has
spent one day a week teaching students about Persian dancing. She is
one of about 20 artists in residence at Glendale schools this year.
"Teaching these students has helped me improve how to slow down,
and go step by step so they really understand," Sayyad said. "But I
think it would be good to have longer residencies. Six sessions is
not enough time to feel really good about it and learn enough."
Sayyad participates in the Arts are Basic program, which is funded
through an $85,000 Arts in Education Demonstration Project grant from
the California Arts Council. The program has two purposes -- to bring
professional artists into schools to expose students to visual and
performing arts, and to show teachers how to incorporate the arts
into everyday curriculum.
The governor's revised budget for the 2003-04 school year, which
was released Wednesday, proposes a 25% cut to the California Arts
Council budget for next year. Roughly 50% of the budget was cut this
school year, said Joyce Smith, the program grant coordinator for the
Glendale Unified School District.
"We could be looking at only nine or 10 projects next year instead
of 30," Smith said. "I could be out of a job, because I am totally
funded by this grant. We really have no idea if this program will
continue at all next year."
Glendale's Arts and Culture Commission coordinates the program
with the school district, said Eve Rappoport, community services
supervisor for the city. The program also offers training for
teachers and artists and organizes artist residencies.
This is the second year of the three-year Arts are Basic program
that officials knew was in trouble, Rappoport said.
"Everybody knew the third year was in jeopardy," Rappoport said.
"The economy looked different three years ago."
The budget must be signed by the governor by June 30.
Sayyad and her students will perform for parents tonight at the
school's international festival. The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
at 120 E. Cerritos Ave. For more information, call 244-7207.