Columbia College Chicago

Fine and Performing Arts

Project AIM

This initiative partners teachers and artists to enhance curriculum with art-making.

The Arts Integration Mentorship Project (Project AIM) fosters artists and teachers working together, infusing classrooms with creativity and bringing experiential, expressive engagement to students’ exploration of the core curriculum. Under the Project AIM umbrella, elementary and high school teachers throughout Chicago and Evanston partner with a talented cadre of teaching artists who share their practice through education.  

The artists bring to the classroom a diverse array of creative expertise, including work in theatre, visual arts, creative writing, music, spoken-word performance, book and paper arts, photography, dance, film, and media. Collaborating with classroom teachers, they create experiential learning units that explore big questions and key curricular concepts through art-making. Together, they guide students through each step of the creative process from brainstorming, creation, critique, and revision, to performance, exhibition, and other documentation of their work. Classrooms are transformed into studios and performance spaces where students explore big ideas, experiment with interdisciplinary metaphors and connections, and express their research through creative projects. As a result, students learn critical thinking skills by translating their ideas across mediums and content areas.

Project AIM establishes reciprocal learning communities that provide professional development through hands-on workshops and cooperative classroom learning laboratories. Seasonal Steering Committee meetings and annual Curriculum Shares and Summer Institutes provide opportunities for teachers to share and learn from their peers, both within their own schools and across entire districts.

Project AIM is supported by The Polk Brothers Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The Crown Family Foundation, The Department of Education’s Model/Dissemination Grant, and District 65 Schools.


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