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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

Organization enhancing arts education in public schools

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  • Arts @ Large contracts area artists to work alongside MPS educators. Photo courtesy of Arts @ Large Facebook.
  • The projects and field trips help keep students engaged in learning and coming to class. Photo courtesy of Arts @ Large Facebook.
  • <p>Photo courtesy of Arts @ Large Facebook.</p>
  • Artists are placed in schools for a residence period of three years. Photo courtesy of Arts @ Large Facebook.

A local non-profit is making sure students within Milwaukee Public Schools are exposed to art education, especially in schools where that programming has been reduced.

Founded in 2001, Arts @ Large contracts professional artists to work within MPS to connect academics to the arts. 

Founder Teri Sullivan said the programming motivates students to stay in school, enhancing the current curriculum and giving them another reason to come to class every day.

“Art is what engages students in active learning,” Sullivan said.  “We provide all the supplies and the equipment.  We take them on multiple trips through the community so they can research their work.”

During the artists’ three-year residencies, they collaborate with educators to adopt an academic theme.  Then, they formulate multi-media art projects and field trips supporting that theme. 

The projects and field trips help kids stay engaged in their learning and retain what they are being taught. 

Last year, students focused on environmental activism and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.  They developed a sustainable community garden, complete with benches and rain barrels. They also performed plays raising awareness about climate change and held Civil Rights photo galleries and poetry workshops.

As MPS adds additional art, music and physical education educators across the district, Sullivan said Arts @ Large will continue to implement its programming alongside those new teachers.

Last year the program was active in 22 Milwaukee area schools and impacted more than 12,000 students.  It contracted 114 area artists to work within Milwaukee classrooms.

For more information about Arts @ Large visit its official website and click the player above to hear Nate Imig’s interview with Founder Teri Sullivan.