David and Lura Lovell Foundation Funds New Virtual Reality Arts Program

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, which funds more than 100 nonprofit organizations locally and nationally, has given Act One a $265,000 grant to fund the organization’s new Arts Immersion virtual reality program over the next three years. 

Act One makes the arts accessible to thousands of children and families in Arizona each year through field trips for K-12 students from economically disadvantaged schools and the Culture Pass program. 

Now Act One’s new, custom virtual reality arts field trip — called Arts Immersion — allows students to explore the world of arts from anywhere. It is the only virtual reality arts program of its kind happening in the state of Arizona and perhaps in the entire country. Even on a national level, most VR programs are centered around science and geography.  

The first Arts Immersion experience, “Freedom in Expression” takes students on a journey connecting the history of public art to Diego Rivera and the Mexican Mural Movement and on to artists in modern-day Chicago and ground-breaking female mariachis in Tucson. 

“The Lovell Family has always known that youth engagement in the arts was essential to creating well-rounded citizens, and education science agrees with us. Act One has a proven track record of greatly expanding access to live arts performances for the students who need it the most in Pheonix and Tucson. With VR, they will be able to reach students across Arizona and become a model for other states. That is both good for students and an initiative worthy of our support.”  said Executive Director, John Amoroso.

“We are extremely grateful to the Lovell Foundation for their grant and their support of our vision for Arts Immersion,” said Bernadette Carroll, Act One Executive Director. “Like many organizations, Act One learned during the pandemic that technology can provide us with new and innovative ways to fulfill our mission. This grant will allow us to make the arts more accessible to Southern Arizona students than ever before thanks to the use of virtual reality.”

This VR program can be an enormous asset to teachers, especially those in the 1,300 Title I schools where per-pupil spending in arts education is less than $1 a year. The VR Field Trip Program can be a solution to break down economic, geographic, and logistical barriers to arts education. 

For Title I schools, the program will be free, but Act One will develop a fee structure for other organizations that can afford to pay for the experience. This will allow Act One to expand beyond the school day and into other sectors, including non-Title l schools, after-school and summer programs, opening new revenue streams to the organization. Beyond that, successful implementation of the VR Program in Arizona may open opportunities to replicate the program in other states. 

Act One provides meaningful arts experiences that enhance the academic and creative potential of children and families in Arizona. We envision a time when all Arizonans acknowledge the value of creative arts experiences as a significant component of educational advancement and personal well-being. For more information on Act One, visit www.act1az.org

Over the past 25 years, the Lovell Foundation has awarded $30 million in grants to more than 100 nonprofits nationally in the areas of Integrative Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Youth Access to the Arts and Gender Parity

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