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Philanthropy renews support for program that supports art teachers

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies has renewed its support for UWM’s ArtsECO program with a two-year grant of $850,000. ArtsECO is a collaboration between the Peck School of the Arts and the School of Education that aims to support teachers and aspiring teachers in applying the arts throughout the curriculum.

This is the fourth round of funding for the program, which began at UWM a decade ago with a planning grant and aims to be sustainable when this final grant renewal concludes. The total amount of funding stands at nearly $3.5 million.

The goal of ArtsECO – which stands for Arts Education/Community Ecosystem – is to recruit and retain both art teachers and teachers who integrate the arts into their subjects. It places a particular focus on social justice and the concept of developing teachers as changemakers.

UWM’s ArtsECO, a partnership among UWM, Milwaukee Public Schools and the Lynden Sculpture Garden, is the largest of the program’s 15 sites nationwide.

ArtsECO has established links with community organizations that support UWM students in paid internships. It also offers fellowships for education and art education students, and professional development for teachers through networking events hosted by the Lynden Sculpture Garden that feature local artists.

With Milwaukee Public Schools, the organization has formed a robust mentoring program that connects retired or experienced art educators with new teachers to help them in their first few years of teaching. “That is a time when many new teachers end up leaving the profession without such support,” said Kim Cosier, professor of art education in the Peck School.

Since schools often have only one art teacher, they were in need of art-specific support, added ArtsECO program director Kelly Saunders. In the past few years, MPS has added more support staff for art teachers and has taken over much of the mentoring that ArtsECO had provided in the early years with an eye toward maintaining the program.

“Now, there’s a cohort of teacher-coaches that meet monthly to continue their own professional learning alongside their mentoring of new teachers,” Saunders said.

Cosier, Candance Doerr-Stevens, associate professor of education, and Peck teaching faculty Josie Osborne applied for the original grant to establish ArtsECO.

View original UWM article here.