The Tommy Hilfiger Group, which is wholly owned by PVH Corp., and P.S. ARTS celebrated the launch of a unique arts education curriculum with a school visit to Walgrove Elementary School by designer Tommy Hilfiger, P.S. ARTS' Amy Shapiro, Kristen Paglia, Walgrove Elementary School Principal Olivia Adams and President of the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation Guy Vickers.
Designed specifically for students with autism and special needs in mind, the Tommy Hilfiger-P.S. ARTS Education Program includes funding for year-round arts education curriculums at both Walgrove and Grand View Elementary Schools led by full-time Teaching Artists.
"Autism awareness and education is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, and an issue that affects my family," said Tommy Hilfiger. "I am very proud to launch this partnership with P.S. ARTS, and I hope that with its unique focus on bringing all children together for arts education, the program will pave the way for similar programs in the Los Angeles area and across the country."
(Photo credit: Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and P.S. Arts celebrate the launch of an Arts Education Program with a school visit at Walgrove Elementary on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, courtesy of Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger.)
Recent education budget cuts have resulted in the systematic reduction and elimination of arts programs in California public schools and across the country, with the greatest impact being felt in programs for special needs students. The reduction of integrated arts programs has led to a severe lack of opportunity for all students to learn and experience together in diverse classroom environments. This lack of inclusive curriculum opportunities has had the unintended effect of further segregating autistic and special needs students from the general student population. The partnership specifically addresses the need for programs in underserved public schools that are designed to be inclusive of both special needs and general education students.
"We are incredibly excited to launch the Tommy Hilfiger-P.S. ARTS Education Program," said Amy Shapiro, Executive Director, Advancement & Operations for P.S. ARTS.
"Tommy Hilfiger has been a longtime advocate for autism awareness and education, and this unique partnership is a tremendous reflection of our mission of improving the lives of children with comprehensive, sustainable, high-quality arts education to underserved public schools and communities."
The evening preceding the school visit, members from the P.S. ARTS Board of Trustees and staff honored Mr. Hilfiger and his wife Dee with a dinner party hosted by Maria Bell at her Los Angeles home. The dinner was attended by notable philanthropists and fashion industry leaders.
"I have long been an active member of the arts community and personally dedicated to raising money to support arts education across the country," said Maria Bell. "Tommy Hilfiger is a dear friend and it is an honor to celebrate the launch of this important arts education program with such a fantastic group of people."
The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation's support of P.S. ARTS reflects the Foundation's ongoing commitment to autism related programs across North America. Tommy and Dee Hilfiger are both passionate and long-time supporters of the autism community, raising funds and awareness of the disorder.
Tommy Hilfiger established The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation in December 1995 to help empower America's youth, developing and supporting programs and partnerships that build and promote healthy communities by supporting education, health and cultural programs. The Foundation believes education and family is the cornerstone for today's diverse youth population. For children to succeed in today's global society, a stronger emphasis must be placed on higher education leading to greater career opportunities. The Foundation also recognizes the importance of building a healthy community and is committed to investing in organizations and cultural programs that impact the physical well-being of at risk youth and family programs.
Like Tommy Hilfiger, you can forge partnerships that build and promote healthy communities. Download our tool-kit "Building Partnerships on Your Own" to learn how to build successful arts and business partnerships in your region.