The Arts Integration Mentorship Project (Project AIM) fosters artists and teachers working together, infusing classrooms with creativity and experiential learning that connect personal experiences to the core curriculum. A talented cadre of teaching artists brings their expertise in creative writing, spoken-word performance, theater, music, visual arts, book and paper arts, photography, and film to the classroom.
The AIM Approach
Project AIM artists and teachers co-create original, collaborative curriculum that is both documentation and instruction—a roadmap for the future and a narrative guide through the past. Together, we continually rework and revisit our plans and ideas just as a painter engages her canvas, or a poet her poem. Freedom to experiment and explore big questions is paramount to the curriculum writing process; artists, teachers, and students encourage one another to think metaphorically and expansively about concepts even as we grapple with a particular skill set. We start with ideas that excite us and spiral through our own learning as we guide our students through the process of arts-integrated learning and reflection.
Using inquiry-based teaching, students are guided through each step of the creative process from brainstorming, revision and rehearsal, to exemplary performances, exhibitions, and documentation of their work.
"The most important factor about Project AIM is the interaction of the artist and the classroom teacher; they develop lessons that meet curricular requirements and at the same time fulfill the creative needs of the students."
-Leonor Karl, Principal
Project AIM has established partnerships with the following public schools in Chicago and Evanston:
- Crown Community Academy, North Lawndale
- Edward Jenner Academy of the Arts, Cabrini
- Marshall Middle School, Independence Park (NW)
- Pulaski International School of Chicago, Bucktown
- Bessie Rhodes Magnet School, Evanston
- Martin Luther King Lab School, Evanston
- Theodore Herzl Elementary School, North Lawndale
- Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts & Dual Language, Brighton Park
- Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School, Pilsen
- Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School, Pilsen
- Benito Juarez Community Academy, Pilsen
Project AIM is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination program, the Chicago Community Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies, Leo S. Guthman Fund, JCCC Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, and an anonymous foundation. Special thanks to Columbia College Chicago.
Federal funding for Project AIM has been ongoing through a four-year U.S. Department of Education FIPSE (Funds to Improve Post Secondary Education) award, and two consecutive Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination awards.
Photo credit (top): Bob Kusel