Blog: MCA DNA

Beyond Four Walls: A High School Partnership

By Lydia Ross

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The MCA’s education program isn’t limited to the four walls of the institution. In fact, some of our most innovative work is happening in high school art rooms throughout Chicago. Our Partner School Initiative, a three-year program that includes museum visits, dialogue in the galleries and in the classrooms, as well as art making, places teaching artists in Chicago Public School classrooms for contemporary art-based residencies. This year alone, students altered the visual landscape of school hallways, staged protests to improve school nutrition, and produced a professionally-installed exhibition of their work in a Chicago gallery.

Each collaboration is unique: teaching artists and partner teachers meet over multiple planning sessions to codevelop new curricula, drawing out compelling questions and avenues of inquiry to pursue, and designing projects that engage students in timely issues while allowing them to develop their art-making and critical analysis skills. For the 2013–2014 academic year the MCA partnered with Carl Schurz High School and artist Jason Pallas; John. F. Kennedy High School and artist James Jankowiak; and Prosser Career Academy High School and artist Jason Lazarus. We are thrilled to share their voices with you.