About Art21 Educators


“[Art21 Educators is] a diverse family of tirelessly passionate, inspiring, and driven educators who believe in the power of art to broaden the way students and teachers experience the world.”
—Matthew Garza, New York, NY, 2012–2013 Art21 Educator


As a year-long intensive experience, the Art21 Educators program encourages teachers to consider new ways that contemporary art can support teaching and learning both in the arts and when the arts are brought into the classroom to enrich and deepen learning in other disciplines.

This program provides a unique opportunity for participating educators to develop in the following areas:

  1. Use Art21 and other resources to develop greater knowledge of and expanded perspectives about contemporary art, artists, and themes;
  2. Use Art21 and experiences with contemporary art, artists, and themes to support innovative curriculum development and teaching across disciplines;
  3. Use documentation and reflection practices that capture changes in personal growth, student learning, and classroom culture;
  4. Participate in a professional learning community of supportive and reflective educational practitioners.

Summer in New York City

Online During the Academic Year


Program Fees

Academic Credit

Additional Resources



Summer in New York City (July)

The program begins with the Summer Institute in New York City. Over the course of six days, participants work with Art21 staff, visiting artists, and guest presenters to develop their familiarity with contemporary art and artists and learn strategies for planning and teaching with big questions and processes related to contemporary art and interdisciplinary pedagogy. Accepted educators explore ways to use Art21 films and educational materials in the classroom, consider new documentation strategies and practices, and participate in collaborative reflection in support of their continued participation in the program throughout the year.

All participants receive a complete set of the PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century DVDs, related Educators’ Guides, a video camera, and an introduction to a variety of online media resources and strategies for teaching with contemporary art using Art21 films and artists. Participants design and develop curriculum, watch and talk about films, visit museums and galleries, and hear from artists and other educators. Teachers return to their classrooms with a unique unit of study that they have designed to teach during the school year, as well as lesson ideas and resources generated by fellow participants.

Sessions include:

  • Contemporary art in contemporary classrooms
  • Exploring contemporary questions
  • Interdisciplinary perspectives and contemporary art
  • Curating the classroom
  • Technology tutorials and filming workshops
  • Studio visits and guest presenters

Read a summary of the 2011 Summer Institute and comments from participating educators on the Art21 Blog:

Reflecting on the Art21 Educators Summer Institute (July 11, 2012)

Looking Back on an Inspiring Art21 Educators Institute (July 20, 2011)



"...having artists on hand to discuss artwork was a major highlight. Seeing how each of them approach their work and listening to them discusses processes is the best possible method of exploring contemporary art."
—Craig Newsom, Carlinville, IL, 2012–2013 Art21 Educator


Online During the Academic Year (August–May)

Art21 Educators continues during the school year through monthly webinar forums and social networking applications in a private online environment that builds on the momentum of the Summer Institute. Through these distance-learning approaches, the program introduces participants to new resources and supports continued curriculum planning and teaching during the school year. Online platforms allow participants to share documentation of their current work (video, photography, and writing) and receive feedback from peers and Art21 Education staff to reflect on and enhance their teaching.

Art21 Educators is a significant commitment and requires participants to dedicate at least 2–3 hours per week, not including class time spent documenting and teaching, on program participation.



"Art21 Educators is an opportunity for teachers to learn strategies for integrating contemporary art into the classroom and to rethink their current teaching practices in order to become more relevant and open to the changing spectrum of art today."
—Anna Dean, Greenville, SC, 2010–2011 Art21 Educator



Each year twelve to fourteen educators from across the United States are selected to participate. Participants include a diverse group of teachers who represent rural, urban, and suburban demographics, varied school and student populations, and a range of subject areas and grade levels.

Participants must apply and participate in the program in pairs to support each other’s work in the classroom. Ideally, pairs apply from the same school or school district. We encourage visual arts teachers to partner with a non-arts teacher, including Social Studies, Language Arts, English, History, and Humanities teachers, although we also accept teams of visual arts teachers.

Although the program does not require any specific technology experience or video production skills, teachers must have a willingness to learn about and use video and online networking forums with training provided by Art21.

Participants are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the program, including ongoing documentation of their teaching, peer support through multiple online forums, and program evaluation during over the course of the entire programmatic year.



"Thank you for taking a risk on a Canadian science teacher. It was an amazing experience for me. I was terrified at first but I am so thrilled I stepped out of my comfort zone - only to discover it wasn't at all uncomfortable. I have been challenged intellectually and professionally by all I have learned at the institute and am very excited to put it all into practice... Art21 educators is not just about contemporary art, it is about being better teachers in a holistic sense."
—Tricia Fitzpatrick, Ontario, Canada, 2012–2013 Art21 Educator


Program Fees

Accepted participants are charged a $400 registration fee to participate in the full year of the program. This fee includes participation in the Summer Institute, webinar forums and social networking applications presented throughout the year, as well as all Art21 materials. Scholarships are available based on financial need. Please contact education [AT] art21.org for more information.

Participants must also pay for travel and living costs affiliated with attending the Summer Institute in NYC. Accepted participants can request to stay in NYU Summer Housing, available at a subsidized rate. Art21 is unable to offer grants or scholarships to cover these Summer Institute expenses and we encourage applicants to look into funding opportunities provided by their communities, schools, or districts. In addition, a list of links to additional funding sources is available in the FAQs.



"I feel like I'm armed with incredible confidence now, that I can help the students access their voice, and I think that I can bring more meaningful reflection and self expression to their experiences in my classes."
—Jenny Duke, Beacon, NY, 2009–2010 Art21 Educator


Academic Credit

Art21 Educators offers graduate credit from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for participation in the full year of the program. Participants will be responsible for paying the additional cost of $1380 for a total of 6 graduate level credits. Once accepted to the program, program participants will receive more information and a registration form.




"I have attended so many professional development opportunities and it would be safe to say that this is the first one that made me feel special, important and a part of something that was bigger than just education."
—Tanya Manabat, Lawndale, CA, 2009–2010 Art21 Educator


Art21 Educators on the Art21 Blog


Reflecting on the Art21 Educators Summer Institute (July 11, 2012)
A summary of the fourth Art21 Educators Summer Institute held in July 2012.

Year Four Art21 Educators Announced (April 18, 2012)
A summary of the participants in the fourth year of the Art21 Educators program.


Talking with Art21 Educators Julia CopperSmith and Maureen Hergott (January 18, 2012)
Joe Fusaro interviews two elementary teachers teachers who participated in Year Three of the Art21 Educators program.

A Year of Contemporary Art in Contemporary Classrooms, Part 1 (June 11, 2012)
Jessica Hamlin, Program Director, kicks off this three-part series reflecting on a year in the life of the Art21 Educators program.

A Year of Contemporary Art In (and Out of) Contemporary Classrooms, Part 2 (June 27, 2012)
Fusaro looks back at a year of Art21 Educators from his perspective as Senior Education Advisor to Art21 and Art21 Educators Coach in the second of this three-part series.

A Year of Contemporary Art in Contemporary Classrooms, Part 3 (July 6, 2012)
In the third and final installment of this series Flossie Chua, Art21 Educators’ Interdisciplinary Consultant, reflects on her first year with the program.

Outside Alias (July 27, 2011)
During the final dinner Joe Fusaro captures participant reflections about our third Art21 Educators Summer Institute.

Looking Back on an Inspiring Art21 Educators Institute (July 20, 2011)
A summary of our third Art21 Educators Summer Institute held in July 2011.

Art21 Educators: Y3! (July 6, 2011)
A summary of the participants in the third year of the Art21 Educators program and links to each of the blog posts introducing them and their videos.


The Wheels Are Rolling (July 21, 2010)
A summary of the second Art21 Educators Summer Institute held in July 2010.

Dear Oliver (July 14, 2010)
A love letter to Oliver Herring—for TASK and everything else he has contributed to Art21 Educators, and more broadly for the thinking he inspires about new ways of teaching and making art.

Shake It Up (July 7, 2010)
A summary of Art21 Educators—our goals, motivations, and evolution as a year-long program—as we head into our second year of the program.


Feeding Our Own Fire (March 17, 2010)
In the spirit of Art21 Educators, Joe Fusaro talks about the importance of visiting colleagues and sharing our teaching practice with others.

Reflections on the Art21 Educators Institute (July 22, 2009)
A summary of the first Art21 Educators Summer Institute held in July 2009.

Contemporary Art in Contemporary Classrooms: Art21 Educators 2009 (July 15, 2009)
An announcement of our first year of the Art21 Educators program, as well as participating teachers.


"Art21 Educators" on Vimeo





Visit Apply for information about the upcoming year of Art21 Educators and to complete the online application.

Questions? See FAQs. Need more info? Email us at education [AT] art21.org.