In 2017, I completed my Master of Arts in Art + Design Education at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Housed in the department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design (TLAD), the MA program offered an opportunity to further my interest in the intersection of art, design, and education.
My master’s thesis, "Creating Access and Equity in Art Education: Strategic Partnerships for Systemic Change," examined how strategic partnerships, including those between nonprofit arts organizations and schools, are essential to providing greater access to arts education in our public school systems. For more on my graduate thesis, contact me!
I customized my studies within Providence's vibrant community, taking advantage of offerings at neighboring Brown University and in Providence’s diverse range of community organizations. In this way, I came out of the program having completed a breadth of discovery from my academic courses, while simultaneously expanding my thinking beyond the classroom.
The RISD MA in Art + Design Education allowed me to:
Draw on my creative practice as a graphic designer to inform, develop, and implement high-quality K–12 visual arts curricula
Explore best practices in art education pedagogy and national arts standards
Display competence in inquiry-based teaching
Construct high-quality visual arts/art and design learning experiences for both formal and informal educational settings
Articulate key issues, trends, and questions from varied learning contexts, including at K-12 schools (both during and after school hours), colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and community-based organizations
Research, write, and present a personal investigation in visual arts teaching and learning that provided me with a platform for my future professional practice and advocacy
Providence, RI Internships
I tailored my MA experience to include three internships, two at local, Providence-based arts organizations, DownCity Design and FirstWorks. There, I was able to contribute my design and teaching skills to support educational programming for local students. I observed how these organizations function at an intimate level, and was exposed not only to their art education programs, but to the nonprofit funding, development, and strategic planning that is necessary to advance the mission of arts-based organizations.
My third internship was a 7-week intensive experience in Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles, I worked closely with UCLA's Visual and Performing Arts Education founder, Barbara Drucker, on campus. I also spent a significant portion of time interviewing arts educators and advocates, learning about the programs they offer to public schools across LA County. These interviews allowed me to expand my thesis research with real-world testimonials from a variety of organizations and leaders in the field.
Brown University: Cultural Policy
In the fall, I took Creativity, Community and Controversy in Cultural Policy at Brown University, which deepened my understanding of the larger systems in which art education either thrives or is undervalued. This course explored new ways for policy-makers to advance the arts, how advocates make their case to public officials, and the benefits of the arts to communities. I learned how public policies stimulate vibrant local arts ecosystems, spur economic growth, and contribute to community development – and considered how, as a designer and arts advocate, I can make the case for arts education to legislators and public officials.