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Arts Program For Children Works To Adapt Now That Schools Are Closed

Donnell Branch, right, raises his hand in his Perkins Elementary Schoool four...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Donnell Branch, right, raises his hand in his Perkins Elementary Schoool fourth-grade classroom, March 2, 2017.

San Diego arts programs have been struggling under the coronavirus shutdowns. That includes arts education programs for kids.

Based in City Heights, Arts For Learning San Diego has been providing arts instruction to children throughout the county for more than 55 years. They primarily do that through schools.

Interim executive director Adrienne Valencia said the organization is trying to adapt to the fact schools are now closed.

"We want to continue to serve these kids. We really believe in the power of arts, especially in this time of uncertainty, and of not knowing what tomorrow’s going to bring," Valencia said.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Michael Damron

The organization is now working to figure out how to get as much as possible of what they provide online

"We’re just thinking of ways that we can deliver our programs through technology. Schools are going to be going online and into virtual education and we want to keep being woven into that fabric ... . It’s a huge pivot for us, but if we don’t do it, who will?" she said.

Valencia said the organization is now coordinating with the various school districts and other organizations they serve to get things up and running.

Those other organizations include libraries, programs for children in military housing and those in juvenile detention facilities. Valencia said that the last group is among the children who need arts the most.

"When you don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring, you need something to bring you back and ground you and that’s what we get from the arts," she said.

Listen to this John Carroll.

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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