Since 1992, Art Partners Programs have provided curriculum-based arts education for under-resourced Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford public schools. Serving over 1000 at-risk urban youth annually, Art Partners help close Connecticut’s educational achievement gap—one of the largest in the nation—by providing access to the arts and unique enrichment programs designed specifically to target critical student needs.
Our programs have a proven track record of fully engaging students in the advancement of their critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration competences, supporting better academic achievement and life skills. The distinctiveness of our program lies in our professional Teaching Artists and their ability to collaborate with classroom teachers to tailor curriculum-based art classes for K-8 students that address their developmental needs.
We develop projects based on where the students need the most assistance. We collaborate with the public schools to meet our collective goals of enhancing literacy and social/emotional skills while developing exciting projects that capture students’ imagination, provide much needed life skills, and even create the next generation of artists and innovators.
Promoting collaboration, communication and synthesis of information is the hallmark of our Mural Projects. The process of making murals focuses on finding solutions to visual problems, which involves evaluation, persistence, and collaboration. Students use computers to research the scientific or social studies topic and find visual references to use for their drawings. Translating the written subject to visual pictures, which are in turn painted onto walls or canvas, helps students to integrate their learning and supports retention and understanding. Fostering creative thinking and self-esteem are among the program's strengths.
Poetry and Visual Art creates a powerful combination. Poetry is an expression that distills language down to its very essence. Each word and line carries weight, tone, texture and meaning – the same elements as Visual Art. In these programs, students write poetry related to their current studies and interpret this into visual art - thus increasing the students' basic language, writing and vocabulary skills; enhancing innovation, creativity, and critical thinking, which is intrinsic to learning through the visual arts; and increasing their art knowledge and abilities by introducing diverse media and techniques.
In a safe after-school environment, our Teaching Artists provide in-depth, personal instruction in drawing, painting and sculpture. Students must think through the art processes involved, follow instructions and revise their work to achieve a completed artwork. They ultimately develop a portfolio of work, increase their art vocabulary, and learn essential communication skills and subtle lessons in comportment through peer critiques. This process contributes to their social/emotional growth by helping them to develop empathy and respect for the views and work of others.
In partnership with Creative Connections, our Teaching Artists work with students to write and create art based on a collective, cultural theme that is then shared with their peers in another country. Through video conferencing, the students share their art and experiences face to face. These exchanges teach global competency by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of other cultures, customs and traditions.
In 2020 the theme was “Our Environment, My Culture”, shared with students in Russia and in 2019 “Art and Life Stories” were shared with students in Uganda and the Guatemalan Rain Forest.
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