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Tulsa Professionals: Any Given Child, Amber Tait Litwack

Amber Tait Litwack wants to see the arts in every school, for every child. Since 2010, she has worked in the Tulsa community to collaboratively develop and implement a plan for expanded arts education in Tulsa Public Schools. Amber sat down with the MSM blog to talk about her master’s degree and what Any Given Child-Tulsa is doing to give equal access to arts education for every student in grades K-8 at Tulsa public schools, nearly 30,000 students each year!

Amber Tait Litwack
Amber Tait Litwack

Was getting your master’s gamechanger, Why?

Earning my Master’s from TU was definitely a game changer.  When I was finishing my joint B.F.A in Graphic Design and B.A. in Art History, I started teaching after school art classes at Philbrook Museum. Prior to this experience, I had never really considered education as a career option, but I absolutely fell in love. I decided to pursue my Master’s in Art Education immediately following my undergraduate work because I realized I had a lot to left to learn if I was going to enter a career in education. Earning my Master’s at TU opened a lot of doors for me and I was hired as a full-time staff member at Philbrook immediately following the completion of my Masters. 
4th Grade Choregus Dance Performance. (Tracy Kouns, TPS)
4th Grade Choregus Dance Performance. (Tracy Kouns, TPS)
 What do you think is unique about the Tulsa arts community?
Tulsa is an incredibly arts-rich city for its size. It very rare for a community the size of Tulsa to have multiple world class museums, a professional Ballet company, Opera, Symphony, etc. We are incredibly fortunate to have theses resources and a philanthropic community that sees the value in supporting the arts. 
 
Learning about Costumes Ballet. (Photo Credit, Tracy Kouns, TPS)
Learning about Costumes Ballet. (Photo Credit, Tracy Kouns, TPS)
What do you see as the key to successful collaboration between arts organizations?
I believe the key to successful collaboration between arts organizations is a common shared vision/mission coupled with ongoing communication. Any Given Child-Tulsa collaborates with The John F. Kennedy Center in D.C., 14 Tulsa Arts Organizations and a number of departments within Tulsa Public Schools. It’s essential that everyone remains on the same page and clearly understands their responsibilities in order to successfully carry out our shared vision. 
7th Grade Sherwin Miller Museum (Tracy Kouns, TPS)
7th Grade Sherwin Miller Museum (Tracy Kouns, TPS)
6th grade AHHA Tour (Geoffrey Hicks)
6th grade AHHA Tour (Geoffrey Hicks)
What do you see as Any Given Child- Tulsa’s biggest challenge in the next year?
The biggest challenge facing Any Given Child-Tulsa in the next year is continuing smooth operations in light of TPS staff positions begin eliminated as a result of state budget cuts.  We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a tremendous amount of staff support from TPS but many of the wonderful people we’ve worked with over the past few years will no longer be with the district next year. Training an almost entirely new district team to support AGC-T will be a definite challenge, but I have no doubt that we’ll be able to figure it out without any negative impact on the 30,000 students we serve each year. 

 

1st Grade TPD at Gilcrease Museum
1st Grade TPD at Gilcrease Museum
Favorite Tulsa hotspot?
My favorite Tulsa hotspot is the Brady Arts District (and really, downtown in general). I’m a big proponent of supporting local businesses and this area not only has a great vibe with a lot to do at any given time, but it is composed almost entirely of Tulsa-based businesses. 
Make sure to check out Any Given Child-Tulsa’s website: www.anygivenchildtulsa.org!
The primary goal of the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program is to assist communities in developing a plan for expanded arts education in their schools ensuring access and equity for all students in grades K-8. The Kennedy Center brings to this initiative more than three decades of work with thousands of students, teachers, principals, administrators, business leaders, and arts managers across the country.