The ATOM | Art to Many Project: Addressing the Need for Accessibility to Art & Design Integrated Learning

By Kathleen Fritz and Elizabeth McCoy.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

How do you teach art without art teachers? Is art integrated learning only for the privileged and gifted? Is the lack of art education a developing nation problem or a global phenomenon due to valuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills over creativity? Since 2009, the after-school program, Communities Rising, Inc., has introduced math, English, computers and the joy of art to over one thousand students in rural India. The art program relies on one part-time art teacher and over 100 visiting U.S. and Indian college interns. The students have loved the art experiences and participate with great enthusiasm. Newly discovered artistic talent has resulted in a tremendous increase in self-esteem for some of the students and given them the confidence they need to excel in the classroom. But once the visitors have left, the after-school teachers are ill-equipped to replicate these projects. ATOM | Art to Many arose from belief that these kinds of art experiences should be provided to CR’s students on a consistent and sustainable basis. But the lack of art and design education access to disadvantaged children is not just a developing nation issue, but a global phenomenon as cited by UNESCO (2006). ATOM has been developed for the world’s poorest children who attend schools with no art classes, no art teachers and no money for art supplies. Designed in conjunction with Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India and U.S. Fulbright scholar and designer, Kathleen Fritz, ATOM will provide an art integrated curriculum and a system of facilitator training and support for teachers and volunteers with no previous experience teaching art or art and design integrated learning.

Keywords: Art and Design Education, Instructional Design, Learning Systems, Social Policy

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.39-57. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.441MB).

Kathleen Fritz

Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Scholar, Professional Diploma Program for Product and Interface Design, Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology in Bagalore, India

Kathleen Fritz was a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer at the Srishti College of Art Design and Technology in Bangalore, India for the 2011–2012 academic year. She is the founder and CEO of the education technology web application CREATOMbuilder based in Savannah, Georgia, and she was a professor of interior design at SCAD-Savannah. She received her BA in psychology from Gordon College and her Master in interior design at Boston Architectural College. She is the recipient of the IDEC 2011 Merritt of Distinction Award for her installation, The Willing Room, and facilitated the design of interpretive exhibits for the Fort Pulaski National Monument in Georgia, USA. Drawing from careers in community mental health, art, design practice, education, and social enterprise, she seeks to immerse people in the potential of design to engage cultural, learning and environmental systems.

Elizabeth McCoy

President, Communities Rising, Inc., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA

Elizabeth McCoy is the founder and director of Communities Rising, Inc., a non-profit that supports village-based education in rural India. In less than three years since Communities Rising’s (CR) first afterschool program in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, India, she has worked with local community leaders to open 9 afterschool programs for 4th and 5th standard level students that include two computer centers. In addition to her work with CR, she is also an associate attorney practicing commercial litigation and appellate law in Pennsylvania and she also served as an assistant counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of State.