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Sarah Jessica Parker, others join Obama arts education push

The Obama administration has enlisted a handful of prominent screen actors -- including Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker and Alfre Woodard -- to help promote Turnaround Arts, an initiative launched this week to incorporate arts education in troubled schools.

Turnaround Arts is a program from the President's Committee on the Arts. The two-year pilot project has selected eight schools across the country to receive new training for arts educators, art supplies, musical instruments and programs totaling about $1 million per year, according to the Associated Press.

The program is being financed with a mix of public and private money, including funds from the Ford Foundation and the Herb Alpert Foundation.

The AP said the selected elementary and middle schools -- which are among the country's poorest and worst performing -- are located in New Orleans; Denver; Boston; Washington; Des Moines, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; Bridgeport, Conn.; and Lame Deer, Mont.

The actors involved in the project will "adopt" certain schools and serve as advocates for the students. In addition to the aforementioned thespians, the two-year program has also drawn support from artist Chuck Close, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer Damian Woetzel, who will also adopt schools.

Turnaround Arts aims to implement change in poor and under-performing schools by integrating arts education in the curriculum.

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