Best Of Tucson®

Best Program for Arts in the Schools

Opening Minds Through the Arts

Some 37 Tucson Unified School District schools with a new, can-do attitude. 650 teachers getting some help teaching core curriculum. 17,000 students from diverse backgrounds with recorders and violins in their hands and test scores headed in the right direction. About 55 local artists getting paid, 32 weeks a year. That's OMA, the homegrown arts program that thought it could. The TUSD governing board just gave the program a half-million dollars to expand into more schools this fall, and 91-year-old founder (and major funder) H. Gene Jones is a finalist for a $100,000 Purpose Prize, a national award for older people who help their communities. Other school districts across the country are interested. It's all good.