West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative

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The Arts Council to Receive $100,000 NEA Grant for pARTners Project

The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa has received a grant award for the pARTners Project supporting arts education in West Central Alabama. Read more…

The Arts Council also received a spotlight on the NEA blog as a result of this award.

The pARTners Project Forms Regional Team

The pARTners Project – a multi-phased collective impact initiative supported by the National Endowment for the Arts – is excited to announce the formation of a Regional Team, which will oversee the direction and scope of the project over its two-year run. The grant was awarded to create a plan to increase access to arts education for students in the West-Central Alabama area, and the Regional Team is made up of individuals with deep connections to the diverse communities in this area. Members of The pARTners Project Regional Team come from a variety of professional sectors and all have an interest in or connection to the arts.

Regional Team Members:

Joi Brown, Jefferson County Memorial Project

Elijah Davis (Birmingham co-Chair), Urban Impact, Inc.

Dr. Andrew Henley, Alabama State Council on the Arts

Myeisha Hutchinson, MDH Strategies, Inc.

T. Marie King (Birmingham co-Chair), Racial Justice & Equity Activist

Diane Litsey, The Dance Foundation

Shannon McCue (co-Director), West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative

Sean McMahon, UAB Lister Hill Center for Health Policy

Celestia Morgan, The University of Alabama, College of Arts and Sciences

Deanna Sirkot (co-Director), Greater Birmingham Arts Education Colloborative

Ashley Wheat (Tuscaloosa co-Chair), Alabama Blues Project

Dr. Jesse Wheeler, Stillman College

Sandra Wolfe, Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa

About the Collaborative

The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa is home to the West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative, a project of the Artistic Literacy Consortium. The Collaborative is led by its director, Shannon McCue, and is administered through a regional office located at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. The Artistic Literacy Consortium is a joint project between the Alabama State Council on the Arts and The Alabama State Department of Education.

Currently, less than 40% of school systems across the state of Alabama offer arts education programming, with rural communities impacted the most.

A leadership team of arts, education, business and community leaders from across the state worked for three years to create the Alabama Plan for Arts Education. The plan was accepted by the State Board of Education in March 2016. In 2018, the Alabama State Legislature approved $400,000 in new funding for the Alabama State Council on the Arts to launch three pilot Regional Arts Education Collaboratives. The collaboratives are strategically located in Huntsville, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The shared goals for the three collaboratives are to provide regional arts education inventories as well as professional development for teachers, artists and arts organizations in arts integration.

2019-2020 Update:

The West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative is going strong in its second full year of programming. In the Fall of 2019, the WAAEC had two programs, a creative writing partnership with the Alabama Writers’ Forum for third and fourth graders at Buhl Elementary School in Buhl, AL, and a visual arts/social science unit for first graders at Myrtlewood Elementary School in Fosters, AL. In the Spring of 2020, the WAAEC will have a multidisciplinary arts integration program for Kindergartners at The Alberta School of Performing Arts in Tuscaloosa, in addition to a music partnership with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra for fourth graders at Englewood Elementary School in Tuscaloosa. In the Summer of 2020, the WAAEC will offer continued professional development opportunities for teaching artists, classroom teachers, and administrators through a series of workshops