The arts are essential for promoting academic growth as well as cultivating creativity, courage, patience, and diligence in students. A report by Americans for the Arts found that young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math or science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate. The arts build a better community for all of us.



Imagine! is an arts education initiative created by ArtsBuild in 2010 which provides a systematic introduction to the arts for Hamilton County elementary school students through performances and exhibits presented by several local arts organizations.

These arts experiences are designed to enhance learning in the classroom. Teachers have access to educational support materials and curriculum that has been designed according to state education standards and is focused on teaching students about the creative process. Countless studies have shown that arts instruction, as well as integrating the arts into all subjects, strengthens a student’s academic ability.

ArtsBuild offers Imagine! to all Hamilton County School students in grades K-5. Thanks to the support of ArtsBuild donors, we are able to provide Imagine! at no cost to the schools or the students. Almost 100% of Hamilton County public elementary schools voluntarily participate each year, and last year the program served 13,000 students.

We appreciate our Imagine! presenting arts organizations:

Kindergarten - Creative Discovery Museum
First Grade - Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Second Grade - Chattanooga Ballet
Third Grade - Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
Fourth Grade - SoLit Theatre Express
Fifth Grade - Hunter Museum of American Art
Fifth Grade - Sculpture Fields at Montague Park


Your gift to ArtsBuild supports arts education initiatives like Imagine!

“When I tell people from other cities our local arts organization provides the opportunity for ALL elementary students in Chattanooga to go on an arts-related field trip each year, their jaws drop. We are so fortunate to have ArtsBuild in our community. There is no way for me to fully express my gratitude for the work you do. Thank you for coming alongside us as teachers. It takes a village and you are an invaluable piece of that village.”


As an ArtsBuild donor, you are helping to support arts education initiatives like this one. We especially thank these philanthropic and civic partners for their leadership support of the Imagine! program:

Beacon Foundation Charitable Trust

City of Chattanooga

Lillian L. Colby Foundation

Hamico Foundation

George R. Johnson Family Foundation

Tucker Foundation

ArtsBuild has created a series of new videos for the Imagine! program. Because students couldn’t visit the Tivoli Theatre this year to see The Nutcracker live on stage, the Chattanooga Ballet came up with a different way to share the story with students in Hamilton County! This video is the first one in our Imagine! video series. Visit our YouTube page for more!  Lift Media Group (2020)

Any Given Child

Chattanooga-Hamilton County is the 26th partner city for Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, a catalyst program of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that improves student outcomes and creates community change by leveraging the power of strategic, coordinated arts education. 

Any Given Child Chattanooga – Hamilton County is committed to achieving equity and access to high quality arts learning experiences and creative expression within every school, family, and community. This collective effort cultivates a strong network for facilitating welcoming, inclusive, connected, and engaging opportunities for all.

All Hamilton County students have rich standards-based learning experiences in, through and about the arts.

All community members benefit from increased engagement opportunities provided by a vibrant network committed to quality arts education.

All community stakeholders collectively advocate for ongoing investment in arts education by cultivating a climate of shared accountability.


“The arts are a key element to a quality education experience for our children in Hamilton County Schools, and we are excited about the opportunities the Any Given Child initiative will provide in our schools. The arts community in the area is very strong, and we appreciate our partnership with ArtsBuild and the Kennedy Center in opening the door to tremendous possibilities for our children’s future.”


Any Given Child is based on these premises:

1) Arts education is an essential component of a student’s education.

2) Any given child, regardless of circumstance, deserves equitable access to quality arts education.

3) Community stakeholders must work in concert to create long-range plans that benefit students and improve communities.

Numerous studies point to the value of arts education in improving student outcomes, yet equity in, and access to, a strong, consistent arts education remains an issue for many students across the United States. Any Given Child seeks to help fill that gap by bringing together community stakeholders to create and implement a customized, unified, long-term plan for arts education for students in grades K-8 in Hamilton County.

In Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Any Given Child incorporates existing resources of the Hamilton County Schools, ArtsBuild, local arts and community organizations, and the Kennedy Center. Local educators and philanthropic and for-profit stakeholders provide additional resources.

ArtsBuild serves as the lead organization for Any Given Child Chattanooga-Hamilton County with funding support provided by Hamilton County Schools.

Local Kennedy Center Workshops

Across the country, more than 100 arts organizations collaborate with their local school system as participants in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Partners in Education program. ArtsBuild and Hamilton County Schools have been working together as a team through this program for 20 years now.

As part of the program, ArtsBuild hosts free professional development workshops for teachers. The workshops are led by nationally recognized leaders in arts education and focus on strategies to integrate the arts into literacy and learning in the classroom. Teachers also learn how to use the arts to help students establish a sense of self-control, accountability, and teamwork. The workshop includes hands-on activities and demonstration classes with students. Teachers that participate continuously rate the Kennedy Center workshops as excellent and highly effective.

Thanks to support in part from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Kennedy Center, ArtsBuild is able to provide the workshops free of charge.

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