Education for the Arts is a program arm of Kalamazoo RESA. EFA’s roots are based on a unanimous desire of the nine public school districts in Kalamazoo County to make arts education a learning and teaching priority. EFA’s mandate is to enhance arts education opportunities and programs for every Kalamazoo County school through developing, maintaining and strengthening partnerships between school districts, schools, teachers and the rich array of professional arts institutions in Southwest Michigan.
Education for the Arts has two major program areas:
Excellence in the Arts| EFA offers arts-intensive classes in the disciplines of theater, musical theater, music, dance, visual arts, multimedia arts and film/video arts. Excellence in the Arts classes are open to all Kalamazoo County high school students. Classes are taught by a collaborative team of teachers and professional working artists. Students receive instruction, mentoring and hands-on experience in authentic, artistic environments. For example, the visual arts classes meet at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
Arts for All| EFA provides K-12 schools with a diversity of free and affordable arts education enhancement programs, including:
Aesthetic Education Program | Teaching artists and classroom teachers collaboratively provide inquiry-based lessons to develop K-8 students' abilities to describe, analyze and interpret visual and performing art works.
Alternative and Special Education Arts Initiative | The initiative provides opportunities for students in alternative education and special education settings to participate in and engage with the arts. Professional teaching artists collaborate with educators to design specialized residencies for students to apply the creative process in the development and exhibition of their own work. To expand and deepen these artistic experiences, the teaching artists guide students through the viewing and responding to works of art in the community.
EFA Presents! | Free and low-cost admission to high-quality professional performing arts and visual arts events for K-12 schools.
Bus Transportation Rebate | EFA provides K-8 schools and alternative education and special education programs with a bus transportation rebate to assist with fine arts and cultural field trips within Kalamazoo County.
Grant Programs | EFA annually awards $150,000 to K-12 schools, teachers/teaching artists and students.
Awards and Honors
EFA is recognized statewide as a leader in K-12 arts education for demonstrated excellence in philosophy and practice, and for its experienced and dedicated staff. In 2009, EFA was honored to receive a Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Art Education Association. In 2006, EFA received the ArtServe Michigan Arts in Education Award. EFA received the 2005 ArtServe Michigan Governor’s Award for Arts in Education. Three of EFA’s Excellence in the Arts high school instructors have been honored in recent years by their peers by being named Michigan Educator of the Year in their disciplines of dance, theater, and digital media/film.