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ArtsBusXpress' passport to culture a success with students

ArtsBusXpress, a venture providing bus grants for classroom fieldtrips, is celebrating another year of connecting students to the local arts and culture scene. Just halfway through its third year of operation, ArtsBusXpress has already topped the total number of students served in its first two years combined. Overall, teachers have used ArtsBusXpress to transport 14,000 students to operas, museums, symphonies, ballets and live theatre.

The program was initially developed by Patricia Smith, owner of Art Expressions Gallery, who believes that for some high school students, field trips are the only opportunity for piquing their interest in the fine arts.

"And children aren't the only winners," said Smith. "The entire arts community benefits by nurturing future arts patrons. Today's children will be tomorrow's decision-makers, and the future of our cultural institutions rests in their hands. How will they value what they have never experienced?"

The program is also a collaboration of the San Diego-Tijuana Sister Cities Society, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Arts Education Partnership, city of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the Community Council for Music in Schools.

While initial funding for the program has come from The Burnham Foundation, the Dickinson Foundation, and many members of the local art and framing industry, other groups have jumped on board including Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM), The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

For more information, including bus rates, visit www.artsbusxpress or call (619) 687-3562.

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