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ART21 Announces Engagement and Education Initiatives to Coincide with a New Season of Storytelling on Contemporary Art

July 6, 2016 — New York, NY — Art21, the nonprofit contemporary art organization, announces two engagement and education initiatives to complement the premiere of Season 8 of its Peabody Award-winning PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century: Art21 Screening Society and Art21 Educators.

These programs aim to inspire a new generation of critical and creative thinkers across the United States and around the world, reaching over 2.5 million students each year through Art21’s PBS programs, short films, and education resources, available free online for teachers, artists, and arts enthusiasts.

Art21 Screening Society encourages a wide variety of partners—schools, universities, libraries, museums, non-profit organizations, galleries, arts and cultural spaces, community centers, and more—to host free, public screenings of Season 8 of Art in the Twenty-First Century in their local communities. Screenings can take place between September 16 and December 31, 2016. Art21 provides a downloadable Screening Guide, a Tool Kit with helpful information for hosting a screening, and high-definition digital files of each episode. Visit art21.org/screeningsociety to learn more, and to sign up to receive registration information. Learn how to host a screening in this how-to video.

Art21 Educators, now in its sixth year, has selected twelve exceptional teachers to join its pioneering arts education program kicking off in July 2016. This year, Art21 Educators will bring together a diverse group of educators from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada to engage with leading contemporary artists and co-develop curriculum based on Art21’s content. Educators will participate in an intensive six-day series of workshops, lectures, and Art21 artist presentations, followed by a year of online learning and meetings through May 2017. Artist participants in this year’s program include Laylah Ali, Jaimie Warren and Matt Roche, and Arlene Shechet. Past participating artists have included Diana Al-Hadid, Janine Antoni, Mark Dion, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Oliver Herring, Mary Reid Kelley, Allan McCollum, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Shahzia Sikander, and Jessica Stockholder.

Led by Art21’s Senior Education Advisor Joe Fusaro, the select group of Art21 Educators is a transformative force within the field of education. Through the Art21 Educators program, participants learn to bring the art, ideas, and methods of contemporary artists into diverse subject areas and disciplines. The teachers use video to document their classroom practice and share their teaching with other participants. Recognizing teachers as creative practitioners in their own right who bring a world of ideas into their classrooms, ART21 supports new ways of teaching and learning inspired by contemporary visual artists.

These outstanding artists and exceptional teachers will engage with timely questions, timeless concerns, and urgent issues in today’s world. Art21 Educators connects these practices to transform the possibilities for education. By working with teachers across subject areas, artists are introduced as creative and conceptual thinkers who pose questions, solve problems, introduce new ideas, and help rethink the world around us. Since the program’s inception, visual arts, language and language arts, humanities, social studies, science, and media arts teachers have developed their knowledge of contemporary art, and continue to use that knowledge to pioneer innovative interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning both inside and outside the classroom, impacting over 12,000 students each year.  

Consisting of three consecutive phases, the Art21 Educators program kicks off with a Summer Institute in New York City, this year held July 6-13th. The twelve newly selected educators will convene to participate in workshops with artists, seminars with educators, and visits to galleries and museums. The program continues throughout the school year until May 2017, as educators experiment with new resources and strategies in the classroom. In monthly webinars and a private online social networking space, educators utilize online learning to share classroom documentation (through writing, photos, and videos), provide feedback, and continue conversations about contemporary art. Participation in an extended online network of alumni from previous years keeps new educators engaged after the immersion year is complete. This growing community now has over 70 members who continue to explore and develop new models for teaching with contemporary art and artists across disciplines and grade levels. The Alumni Network empowers teachers by creating a space to share how Art21 and contemporary art continually inspires their teaching practice, connecting them with like-minded colleagues who share their curiosity and passion for contemporary art in the classroom.

Support for Art21 Educators 2016-2017 is generously provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambent Foundation, and Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. 


Art21 is a celebrated global leader in presenting thought-provoking and sophisticated content about contemporary art, and the go-to place to learn first-hand from the artists of our time. A nonprofit organization, Art21’s mission is to inspire a more creative world through the works and words of contemporary artists. Acclaimed for its Peabody Award-winning PBS series, Art in the Twenty-First Century Art21 engages millions of people of all ages with contemporary artists and their creative processes. In addition to Art in the Twenty-First Century, Art21 produces the online film series New York Close Up, Exclusive, and Artist to Artist; special artist projects including the Peabody Award-winning feature William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible; extensive educational resources; and a comprehensive website at art21.org.

The new season of Art21’s flagship program Art in the Twenty-First Century will debut on PBS with four one-hour episodes on September 16 and September 23, 2016, at 9pm and 10pm ET (check local listings). Featured artists include: Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Barbara Kasten, and Chris Ware in Chicago; Natalia Almada, Minerva Cuevas, Damián Ortega, and Pedro Reyes in Mexico City; Edgar Arceneaux, Liz Larner, Tala Madani, and Diana Thater in Los Angeles; and Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen, Liz Magor, and Jeff Wall in Vancouver. The artists share universal experiences through their life stories and creative works: resistance, pleasure, mortality, and the hope for a better tomorrow. Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Claire Danes joins the series as its broadcast host for the eighth season.