Kalamazoo RESA’s Education for the Arts (EFA) program is rooted in a unanimous desire of the nine public school districts in Kalamazoo County to make arts education a learning and teaching priority. EFA’s mission is to enhance arts education for all K-12 students in Kalamazoo County by making dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts an essential part of comprehensive education.
Since 1994, EFA has offered the more than 100 public and private schools within the Kalamazoo RESA service area a diversity of arts education programs. All EFA initiatives are designed to complement or enhance, not replace, existing arts programming in the schools. EFA programs are available to K-12 students within the districts of Climax-Scotts Community Schools, Comstock Public Schools, Galesburg Augusta Community Schools, Gull Lake Community Schools, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Parchment School District, Portage Public Schools, Schoolcraft Community Schools, and Vicksburg Community Schools. Arts education opportunities are available to all public schools, as well as private schools that choose to participate in EFA programs.
Programs with Access to the EFA Rep
Four of EFA’s programs provide schools with access to the works of art on the annual EFA Rep, however, the opportunities and admission/fees vary.
Aesthetic Education Program
The Aesthetic Education Program provides students and classrooms teachers with a rich investigation of high-quality works of art through discovery-based preparatory and viewing experiences. Students develop their capacities for observation, analysis, questioning, and meaning making, allowing them to deeply engage with works of art while making connections to their personal experiences, the outside world, and beyond. MORE
Alternative Arts Initiative
The Alternative Arts Initiative provides opportunities for students in non-traditional education settings to participate in and engage with the arts. Teaching Artists collaborate with administrators and 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. MORE
Featuring artists from Scotland to New York City to Memphis, EFA Presents! provides schools with easy access to performances and visual arts exhibitions from around the world. These acclaimed works of art are available to schools at little to no cost, depending on student grade level and the individual work of art. EFA includes an education guide and a partial K-8 bus rebate to assist with field trip transportation. MORE
Explore! Create! Perform! The PACE Program engages K-8 students in creative movement and drama residencies that spark imagination and personal expression. Residencies teach the elements of the art form, emphasize artistic exploration and the creative process, and celebrate the students’ creative work. To deepen the students’ understanding and inspire their own original work, classes have the option of attending a world-class professional dance or theater performance. MORE
Bus Transportation Rebate Program
Since 2003, EFA has provided bus transportation rebates for schools to participate in high-quality arts and cultural field trips taken within Kalamazoo County. The program supports the annual attendance of more than 20,000 students in select arts education programming offered by EFA and partnering organizations. Schools contribute $25.00 per bus round-trip and EFA provides reimbursement for the remainder of the bus transportation expense at the end of each school year. MORE
Excellence in the Arts High School Courses
EFA provides especially talented and motivated students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to explore the depth of their artistic abilities while earning high school credit. Each course is designed to guide students in developing and enhancing their artistic skills. Students work with professional artists and arts teachers in intensive classes at sites around the county, including in-school programs and classes offered in professional artist studios and performance spaces. MORE
Grants and Scholarships
With support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, EFA awards and manages up to $150,000 annually in grants and scholarships to help fund and enhance arts initiatives for Kalamazoo County students, schools, and educators. Available grants include artistic project grants for schools, artistic development grants for educators, student arts scholarships, and student artistic equipment grants. MORE
The Washingtons Story Theater School Tour
Master storytellers Dr. Von and Fran Washington have a great love for storytelling. Their goal is to bring African American history and everyday situations to life, while entertaining and educating. Fun and adventurous tales weave in themes of family values, character building, anti-bullying, and more. During January-April, EFA sponsors the Washingtons on a school tour, sharing their original story theater productions with more than 5,000 students annually. MORE