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A Proposal to Albuquerque Community Foundation From OFFCenter Community Arts Project: After-School Arts

1. Project Summary Overall Goal: The goal of After-School Arts is to expand our program to reach more at-risk, lowincome students so they may gain self-expression skills, self-confidence, and scholastic success. Our program allows children to create artwork that relates directly to their lives and cultures and then reflect on what they have created to allow for self-discovery and creative problem solving. In this way, they are able to deal with life challenges that are so often a part of their lives. Currently we serve the children at Reginald Chavez Elementary School (RCES). We seek to expand our program to Dolores Gonzales Elementary School (DGES) to increase the number of students we serve from 45 to 90 children each week. To provide students with the chance to engage with their community and share their artwork, we will hold two exhibits of student work each year. In addition, OFFCenter artists will visit our program so that students will have role models and gain new perspectives about art and culture.
Need for Our Project: Many children in Albuquerque lack the opportunity to learn and practice art-making. Standards-based education reform, such as No Child Left Behind, and the current budget problems at both state and federal levels have resulted in less support for art education in schools. Further, the status of art education hinges on the financial resources of the community in which it is located1. Thus, children at low-income schools have less opportunity to engage in arts education, depriving them of enriching experiences that can positively change their lives. Researchers have found that arts-based curriculums foster positive academic and personal achievements, especially for at-risk, low-income, linguistically and culturally diverse children2. Arts education allows students to learn valuable life skills, such as critical thinking and communication, and to form connections between varied academic concepts and with other students. By engaging in literacy-through-arts approach, children can learn how thoughts and feelings can be conveyed though images as well as words, helping them to overcome initial reading difficulties3. Arts education also engages students in three different ways: emotionally, physically, and intellectually. This combination appeals to a variety of learning styles and engages all students, regardless of their abilities4. Additionally, the self-confidence gained by students through the arts is applicable to every aspect of their lives. Programs such as Art in the Schools offer excellent traditional-based art instruction; however, programs such as ours that allow students to engage in experiential learning where they are able to choose the materials and medium they will use as well as reflect on what they create, allow children to discover meaning in their life situations and grow academically and socially. Who will Benefit: After-School Arts will benefit at-risk students at Reginald Chavez Elementary and Dolores Gonzales Elementary Schools by allowing them to create art by providing instruction
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Chapman, Laura. Status of Elementary Art Education. Studies in Art Education. Vol. 46, No. 2 (Winter, 2005), pp. 118-137. Brice Heath, Shirley, and A. Roach. 1999. Imaginative Actuality, Learning in the Arts during the Non -school Hours. In E. Fiske, ed. Champions of Change. Washington, D.C.: Arts Education Partnerships/Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 3 Marder Kamhi, Michelle. The Great Divide in Art Education. Aristos: An Online Review of the Arts. November 2010. <http://www.aristos.org/aris-10/arteddivide.htm> Accessed March 30, 2011. 4 State of New Mexico. 2007. New Mexico Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Performance Standards For Visual and Performing Arts K-12. <http://www.ped.state.nm.us/div/humanites/dl08/wFinal_ArtsStandardsNM.pdf>. Accessed March 30, 2011

and materials. Both Reginald Chavez and Dolores Gonzales Elementary Schools are Title 1, predominately Hispanic schools (87-91%). At RCES approximately 85% and at DGES nearly 99% of the students participate in the free/reduced lunch program5. Other beneficiaries include the childrens family and friends as well as the Albuquerque community, who get a chance to understand the importance of art education for children when they view the exhibition of the childrens work at the OFFCenter Art Studio. In addition, the low-income OFFCenter artists will benefit by sharing their art and cultural experience with the children, allowing them to further develop their skills. Finally, our program benefits the UNM Art Education students who work with the children at both schools. Through their involvement in this project, the UNM students will gain valuable experience teaching children art fundamentals and self-expression that will allow them to become stronger teachers. Measurable Outcomes: Our art education project provides the following outcomes: Increased self-expression, self-confidence, and success of students. Students will develop self-expression and critical thinking skills by creating artwork and reflecting on its meaning, leading to greater self-assurance in other academic endeavors. Greater sense of community for the students. By allowing students to exhibit their work at OFFCenter, they will interact with the larger community, allowing them to see the impact they can make in the world and develop a sense of agency and community. The students will also learn about their cultural community through art creation and meeting OFFCenter artists, allowing them to understand its importance and qualities. Increased skill levels of teachers. The UNM Art Education student teachers will provide these students with real world experience in the classroom, making them effective educators once they being their careers. Evaluation: To evaluate the effectiveness of our program, our staff will conduct both qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. We will keep records on the number of youth we serve at each school each week and as necessary recruit more children for the program. Our staff will conduct surveys with students, their parents, and their teachers at the beginning and end of the program. We will ask the students to discuss their experience making art, their ability to communicate about their art, and how their art influences their community. We will ask the teachers at the schools to assess whether there was a change in students critical thinking skills, academic skills, and self-assurance. We will ask the parents to assess their childs ability to communicate visually and verbally. We will interview the UNM student teachers to assess the student teachers knowledge of working with at-risk children in arts education. Based on the results of our evaluation, we will continue to improve the curriculum and activities we offer.

2. Collaborations After-School Arts involves the collaboration of the following groups: The UNM Art Education department and Dr. Linney Wix will train and provide UNM students as teachers for our program. The UNM students will gain valuable experience and we will benefit from their energy and knowledge. The teachers of the students at Reginald Chavez Elementary School are a vital part of this project. They will provide valuable information about how the students are progressing and which activities are most effective. Several artists at OFFCenter will present their work to the children, providing artistic and culture role models for the children.
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APS Research, Deployment and Accountability. 2008-09 Student Demographics. <http://www.rda.aps.edu/RDA/ARC/Documents/Student_Demographics/Demographics_2008-09.pdf> Accessed March 30, 2011.

3. Budget We are seeking funding of $7,025 to cover the costs of personnel, materials, honorariums, facilities, and transportation in order to carry out our project for the 2011-2012 school year. The entire cost of the project is $15,745, with $8,120 in in-kind and $600 in general support funding. 4. Start and End Dates Our program takes place from the beginning of the APS school year in mid-August 2011 and will run through the school year, ending in June 2012 to provide time for program evaluation. 5. Key Staff and Organizational Profile OFFCenter is a community art space in Albuquerque which serves about 4,500 people a year, with over 70% low income or below the poverty level. Our mission is to provide a safe environment to make art and inspire social dialogue, to develop economic sustainability for individual artists, especially for those without homes, jobs, or of low income and to be a model facility for future community art studios throughout New Mexico. OFFCenter was established in 2001 to provide a sense of community and agency to bring people of all walks of life together. With this in mind, we offer approximately 250 open-studio free classes per year, We Art the People! Folk Art Festival, Art of the Family and Nature of Happiness programs, and monthly gallery exhibits.
Ron Breen - Executive Director. A part of OFFCenter for over nine years and director for the past three years, Mr. Breens skills as an artist and his experience in management and business systems development at Intel provide him with the expertise to manage the projects of OFFCenter effectively. Dr. Linney Wix Professor/Program Advisor: Dr. Wix has worked for over 20 years as an associate professor in the UNM Art Education Program, educating future art therapists and educators. She is an art therapist and artist who promotes studio approaches to art therapy and education. The student educators who participate in our program are part of her class, Art with At-Risk Students, which is part of the course work leading to a B.A. in Art Education for the New Mexico Art Teaching Licensure and an M.A. in Art Education. Beverly LaZar Supervisor/Lead Instructor: Ms. LaZar has worked with children and adults in community-based situations for the past twelve years. She will complete her M.A. in Art Education at UNM in May 2011 and has supervised our program at Reginald Chavez Elementary for two years.

6. Other Funding Sources OFFCenter has received funding from New Mexico Arts, Bernalillo County Social Services, United Way, City of Albuquerque UETF and CYFD, Wolf Kahn Foundation, ACF FUNd, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and Catholic Campaign for Human Development. 7. Project Continuation We plan for After-School Arts to continue as long as OFFCenter is in operation. We began the project nine years ago and we consider it a key outreach program. Because of our strong belief in the efficacy of this program and the support we have from Dr. Wix and the UNM Arts Education Program, we will continue to make this project a priority, using current and future fundraising projects, such as our Albuquirky House Tour, as well as grant support to enable its continuation.