Think Tanks and Beyond

For a fast-paced 8 weeks this spring and early summer, the ArtsConnection team gathered in small groups as part of our Think Tank project devoted to building a wellspring of new models, innovations, and best practices for remote learning in the arts. A group of 74 teaching artists and 30 program and administrative staff members met in 11 Think Tank teams with the goal of further refining and expanding remote arts-learning opportunities. In-depth collaborations within and across teams examined and developed distance learning technical solutions, standards, curricula, and guidelines for live streaming and pre-recorded lessons, in all art forms, across grade levels. Addressing the heightened challenges facing students, teachers, and families were teams focused on wellness and our ongoing commitment to combat inequity and racism, an endeavor supported by ArtsConnection’s Board Diversity Committee. Evolving within this framework were different dimensions of program delivery, and methods to amplify student voice, opening new channels for their self-expression and community. Guiding all efforts was the ArtsConnection mission to create socially just learning environments supporting literacy, communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. We developed some exciting tools for virtual learning and deepening our practices, including an interactive video game platform for arts classes in which different portals lead to different lessons of an arts residency, a teaching module leading to student-generated podcasts, virtual Artist-to-Artist student-moderated panels of luminaries in different arts fields, and more. There’s so much we’re working on to help our virtual arts teaching stay vital and keep growing so we can keep artists, students, and the entire ArtsConnection community #ArtsConnected no matter what the coming months bring. Check out some of the highlights below!

One of the unique aspects of the ArtsConnection team is everyone’s willingness and capacity to engage in meaningful and necessary work wholeheartedly. These past eight weeks, over 100 staff and artists in our Think Tank groups have shown extraordinary dedication to the flexibility and innovation required to move all of our arts programs online, and it shows. We’re at the cutting edge of arts education, ready to jump right in this fall to serve our students and schools, no matter what the school day looks like by then. We can’t wait to continue this important work that is so critical for the well-being and education of the whole child.

-Steven Tennen, Executive Director

In-School Programs

Preview some of the spectacular work our teaching artists completed during the Think Tanks:

Think Tank teaching artist Psacoya Guinn asked students to exercise their imaginations on a trip to outer space.

Think Tank teaching artists Sarah Provost and Erin Orr collaborated on bringing puppets to life in a series of challenges and encouraged students to post their own puppet characters on an app.

Check out our Remote Arts Learning page.


ArtsConnection links learning to the arts for school-aged children and now, more than ever, we need your support to continue creating these connections. Donate now to help us provide art material kits to accompany remote lessons, seminar courses for our teens to virtually explore the rich NYC arts landscape, and so much more.

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