Joined by school district superintendents and representatives from local arts and cultural organizations, Mayor Rothschild kicked off his Great Start Program on Wednesday at a press conference at City Hall.
The program provides school districts with tickets to distribute to students so they can experience the arts, history and science at local museums and attractions. Nonprofits donated the tickets—150 to 200 tickets per nonprofit—which were shared equally among the five school districts. Each district came up with its own plan for distributing them to students. Sunnyside is focusing on attendance while TUSD is looking at students who are already interested in these subjects.
TUSD Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sanchez was grateful for the donations, saying that, for students living below the poverty line, “having the opportunity to go to the theater or the museum or the zoo—if the school doesn’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen.”
Amphi Superintendent Patrick Nelson added that students “have to be able to dream,” and having the opportunity to attend a concert or a museum “helps make that connection between the dream and living that opportunity.”
Several of the nonprofit representatives mentioned additional free or discounted admission programs they offer to children and families and Michael Luria of the Children’s Museum Tucson made the point that children’s access to museums “should be a right and not a privilege.”
Mayor Rothschild emphasized the importance of Tucson’s arts and cultural organizations in creating a vibrant community and said he hopes the experience of attending the symphony or a museum “will be addictive, leaving students and their families wanting more.”
Participating school districts
Participating arts and cultural organizations
Arizona Historical Society
Arizona Theater Company
Children’s Museum Tucson
Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center
Reid Park Zoo
Tucson Museum of Art
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
University of Arizona Museum of Art