Act One: Arts field trips for K-12 students in Title 1 schools

At a January 2018 press conference, Mayor Rothschild announced the merger of his Great Start Program with Act One, a nonprofit that provides free field trips to art and cultural institutions for K-12 students in Title 1 schools.

With Jeremy Mikolajczak, CEO, Tucson Museum of Art; Geri Wright, Executive Director, Act One; Bryan Davis, Executive Director, Tucson Jewish History Museum & Holocaust Center; Tom McKinney, President & CEO, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Act One press conference, January 2018

Launched in January 2017 with a goal of giving more children access to the arts, the mayor’s Great Start Program provided more than 2,100 donated tickets and passes for Tucson-area school districts to distribute to students.

Act One takes a different approach, providing entire classrooms with field trips. Act One pays for admission and transportation, removing what is often a barrier for students and cash-strapped schools. It also provides teachers with lesson plans, and in some cases books, to guide discussion of the experience.

“We believe that every child should experience the arts,” said Act One Executive Director Geri Wright, noting that this year Act One has funding to send 7,000 students in Tucson-area Title 1 schools on field trips to see a play, a concert, or visit a museum.

Mayor Rothschild encouraged Tucsonans to sponsor a child’s field trip, noting that, “Just $25 can buy them a seat in the house and an experience they may never have otherwise.”

Title 1 schools are schools in which 40% or more of students fall into one of three categories:

  • Come from families living at or below the poverty level
  • Come from families that receive TANF, Temporary Aid to Needy Families
  • Live in foster homes or institutions