• The Arts Tax in Action: The HeART of Portland is Still Beating

    Students who took their first steps into PPS kindergarten classrooms in 2014 – the year Portland’s first-ever arts education tax went into effect – are now thriving sophomores.

    Evan Sampson is one of those sophomores, and he will have a chance to share his story at this year’s HeART of Portland, a showcase spotlighting the artistic accomplishments of some PPS’s most talented students.

    The two-week celebration of creativity will take place from April 16-28 at the Portland Art Museum. All exhibits and performances are free and open to the public.

    “I just really like playing,” said Sampson, who is part of a percussion ensemble taught by Franklin music teacher Jason Owens. “Community is a big part of it. Just performing with other people and getting to be around other musicians is very inspiring and motivating.”

    The theme of this year’s HeART of Portland is "Lighting the Way: A Decade of Excellence, Wonder, and Curiosity,” which perfectly sums up the impact arts education has on students like Evan.

    “All students that come into a high school or middle school music program, it’s important that we just provide those opportunities for all kids," said Owens. "Then you see what happens, see what grows, see how they flourish."