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About Art21 Educators

“The materials provided through the program combined with the ongoing conversations with other educators in the Art21 program have given me a new understanding of what is possible within the classroom. I’ve been able to tweak, re-vamp and play with the support and suggestions of so many brilliant educators in the Art21 program. It’s a community like no other. I’m thinking deeper than I have in a long time, reading more and talking with people in and outside the program about what Art21 and discovering contemporary art does for learners of all ages.”

—Stacey Abramson, Art21 Educator, Year 6

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:

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

More information

Summer in the City

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. Participating artists in past years have included: Laylah Ali, Janine Antoni, Mark Dion, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Oliver Herring, Mary Mattingly, Allan McCollum, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Arlene Shechet, Shahzia Sikander, Jessica Stockholder, and Whoop Dee Doo.

Read a summary of previous Summer Institutes and comments from participating educators on the Art21 Magazine:

Transformations and Beginnings: On Art21 Educators’ 2016 Summer Institute (August 19, 2016)

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

“I expected intelligent conversation, innovation, and networking to happen through my experience with Art21 Educators, but it ended up being so much more. It left me with a challenge. I was aware of the magic that was occurring in the process—that I was witnessing something just a little more special than professional development, something that could end up seeding seismic change in education.”
—Jeannine Bardo, Art21 Educator, Year 3

Online During the Academic Year

Art21 Educators continues during the school year through monthly online meetings that build on the momentum of the Summer Institute. Through these meetings, 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 time each month towards working with the community as well as developing and documenting their teaching process.

“Art21 Educators is a group of passionate educators who want to transform their classroom into everything contemporary.”

—Domenic Frunzi, Boyertown, PA, 2013–2014 Art21 Educator


If selected to participate in Art21 Educators, you will be paired with a mentor who is an alumni of the Art21 Educators Program for the school year. Your mentor will also attend the Summer Institute, and you will meet with your mentor once a month (both individually and in small focus groups with other mentors/mentees) from August through May.


Each year twelve 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.

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.

“As a science teacher, it was very helpful for me to have exposure to methods to authentically integrate arts education and contemporary artists into my classroom setting. Now, I have a NUMBER of ideas about how to effectively integrate actual artists into the classroom in a manner that actually adds to the unit. I also have rethought how I approach interdisciplinary instruction. Before, I focused on the actual project of making the art. Now I realize that I was missing the most important aspect of the arts, namely teaching students the ways that artists think.”

—Sara Fromboluti, Brooklyn, NY, 2013–2014 Art21 Educator

Program Fees

Accepted participants are charged a $450 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.

Alumni attending summer institutes are charged a $40 program fee to cover the cost of materials.

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 eagerly anticipate our monthly meetings and feel energized by not only the support and camaraderie of these amazing people, but also by the brilliance of their intellects and aspirations! The Art21 family is a refuge… In the studio/classroom, the Art21 program has kickstarted a re-evaluation of all of my upper level classes. I have made adjustments with every Level II – IV class that I teach. It has reinvigorated my participation with these classes– I have created all new assignments, including using the one that I developed at the summer institute.”

—Ann Schwab, Art21 Educator, Year 6

Academic Credit

Accepted educators are able to receive a total of 6 graduate credits from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for participation in the full year of the program. Participants are responsible for paying the additional cost for the 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