Back to School Spotlight: The pARTners Project (Alabama)

By Paulette Beete
Teaching artist works with class

Photo courtesy of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa. Teaching artist Ruth O'Connor leads a visual art/social science arts integration lesson for first graders at Myrtlewood Elementary School in Fosters, Alabama.

“Our essential question for this project is: how can a regional resource center best support its community?”

In its name and its mission, the pARTners Project—a recent recipient of an Arts Education Collective Impact grant from the Arts Endowment—emphasizes collaboration. The project, a partnership between the West Alabama and Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaboratives, aims to address inequalities in arts access in West-Central Alabama, with a special focus on pre-K through 12th grade students in rural areas still feeling the effects of segregation and white flight.

Since 2018, the two collaboratives have been committed to direct-service programs, professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and arts education advocacy at the regional level. Through those efforts, both collaboratives have gotten to know and learn from their communities, but this project will offer the chance to dig deeper. Utilizing the expertise of community members, the pARTners Project will identify strategic, systemic approaches to increase arts education access in West-Central Alabama. MORE.

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