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Education, Arts & Culture CITY OF LAREDO COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Overarching Policy: Establish by ordinance a Department for Education, Art and Culture, to include an Education Liaison, and an Arts and Culture Liaison, as well a Commission of Arts and Culture, with close integration with the Department of Economic Development.

EDUCATION:

Goal 10.1: Support The Improvement Of The Education System Of Laredo Through Coordination Of Efforts Across All Agencies.

Policy 10.1.3: Enter into partnerships with the school districts and the institutions of higher education to increase educational opportunities and improve student performance.

The City’s Public Library works in close partnership with local institutions of higher education including Laredo College and Texas A & M International University, local school districts including UISD and LISD, and local non-profit organizations by hosting, supporting, and/or participating in child development and literacy programs; adult learning classes including ESL, GED and Citizenship; and K-12 school programs including “Beat the Heat” summer reading program, the Accelerated Reader Program, and various student projects including science fair and debate projects.

Policy 10.1.4: Coordinate with educational and business sector to promote and support quality early education, child care, and after school programs for all residents, while working to foster potential and increase retention of citizens.

Collaborative Efforts Open Doors and Enrich Lives: It Takes a Village…: Library offers numerous Early Literacy programs (story time, 1-2-3 Play with me, Family Place Library, etc.) and offers different afterschool programs at the different Library Branches (Art, STEM, homework help, tutoring, etc.). The City has an MOU with Webb County Head Start to provide library services to students and parents. The Public Library also works with Literacy Volunteers of Laredo to provide ESL classes. In fact, some Library employees are certified to be instructors and hold classes at the various library branches.

ARTS & CULTURE

Goal 10.2: Recognize local and regional arts and culture as the foremost indicator of the community’s unique identity and support its development to cultivate civic pride and identity and as an essential component to economic development and attracting and retaining talent.

Policy 10.2.9: Promote Children’s Art Programs

Laredo Public Library Promotes Children’s Creativity: The Public Library offers numerous art programs including Children’s Art for ages 10 and under in the evenings every other month; Toddler Art and “Let’s Make Music” for ages 1-3 in the mornings on alternating months; and Poetry Workshops for Teens.

Policy 10.2.11: Create a standard policy for selection of artists for public art through RFQ’s and paid competitions to encourage the development of the industry and to help the recruitment of more artists into the local community.

Murals are Thought Provoking: The Fine Arts & Culture Commission and Mural Arts Grant Program was established by Laredo’s City Council in July 2017. In order to encourage the exhibit of public art to beautify areas and create a sense of place and in response to proposals received, two mural painting grants of $10,000 each, were awarded local artists, Mauro C. Martinez, Gilberto Rocha, and Carlos Castro. The interactive mural by Mauro C. Martinez , “ No Dejes de Soñar (Don’t Stop Dreaming), inspires a message of hope and is proudly displayed on a large wall at the Outlet Shoppes adjacent to the parking area. The second mural painted by Gilberto Rocha catches the eye of travelers along Bartlett Avenue at 2121Travis in that it is visually stimulating, complex in meaning, and open to interpretation.