The Power of Partnership

 In Michelle Green Arnson, The CAPE Blog

CAPE’s focus on three specific things drives our work and set us apart from other arts and education organizations: Arts Integration, Research, and Partnerships.

Music Teachers PD

Teachers and artists learn to plan, work, and assess as partners through professional development

Partnerships are the key to CAPE’s success and longevity. Rather than pre-designed, one-time, or drop-in programming, deep, long term, dedicated partnerships are at the forefront and the heart of all CAPE’s work, and you’ll see it evidenced continually in how we engage with our teachers, artists, students, principals, families, communities, and researchers, and in how all those groups engage with each other.

The best place to learn about CAPE’s approach is in our Veteran Partnerships Program, which is where CAPE’s longest running classroom and school partnerships are found.  Our Vets classrooms are where many of CAPE’s most intensive, innovative arts-integrated projects are co-planned and co-taught by our teacher+artist partnerships, some of whom have worked together for more than 10 years.  Together, over multiple years, classroom teachers and their teaching artist partners assess the needs of their students and school communities, experiment with different ways the arts can support those academic and social needs, and then reflect on, assess, and revise their projects in preparation for their next project. The long-term nature of this work leads to deep student engagement, continual inspiration and professional development for teachers and artists.  Students’ performing and visual art works showcase what CAPE’s approach to arts and education can accomplish.


At Agassiz Elementary, a Veteran Partnerships school, students explore geography and landscapes through a variety of art media

Every year, CAPE hosts CONVERGENCE, an exhibition of student artwork from the Veteran Partnerships Program. This event provides students the exciting and very validating opportunity to see and perform their art in a gallery and to show off their hard work to friends and family members. CONVERGENCE is also a celebration- of our teachers’ and artists’ dedication to the art of teaching, of our students’ creative and academic growth, and of the powerful role of arts partnerships in our public schools. This year, CONVERGENCE will represent a coming together of and strong partnerships between the arts, academics, schools, communities, and- thanks in part to the exhibition’s new home at Instituto Cervantes- Spanish language and culture.

CONVERGENCE will be up on display during regular business hours at Instituto Cervantes from December 8-18, and we’ll be hosting a party for our Veteran Partnerships teachers, artists, students, and families, as well as CAPE’s friends and supporters on Wednesday, December 10, from 6 to 9pm. Please grab a few friends and join us- click here to learn more and get your tickets!  We’ll also be hosting an Arts and Language Symposium on Saturday, December 13, which you can learn more about here.

CONVERGENCE is one of the best ways to learn what we do and how we do it, but if you can’t make it, please consider joining us for a CAPE Field Trip at our office in the Loop. Click here to learn more about this free, one-hour info session and register for one of our upcoming dates!

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