Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) and Project AIM

The Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) has worked since 1998 to develop and implement arts education programming in Chicago. This organization focuses on creating and cultivating partnerships among Columbia College students and faculty, public schools, and community-based organizations. The Arts Integration Mentorship Project (Project AIM) is a CCAP School Partnerships initiative led by Cynthia Weiss. Project AIM provides professional and program development to foster arts integration in nine public schools and more than fifty classrooms. It also trains and works with a talented cadre of visual, musical, performing, literary, and media artists.

Defining Arts Integration

Project AIM facilitates arts integration as a dynamic teaching and learning process, developed through long-term partnerships among teaching artists, arts specialists, and classroom teachers. In AIMprint: New Relationships in the Arts and Learning, co-edited by Cynthia Weiss and Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein, arts integration is defined as:

Program Structure and Methodology

Project AIM residencies take place during the school day. The arts integration teaching team is made up of classroom teachers and teaching artist partners from the AIM artist cadre. The teaching teams examine the parallel processes across reading, writing, and art making in order to create curriculum that moves back and forth across these processes. The concept and practice of a Learning Spiral is an AIM arts integration instructional model. During this organic process all participants have the opportunity to:

Putting the Program into Action

Sabin Shout Outs is an interdisciplinary arts-integrated unit developed at Sabin Magnet School by photographer Joel Wanek, poet Jenn Morea, and three classroom teachers. To explore the guiding question, How can a photo documentary project featuring school staff and faculty help students develop a greater understanding and respect for the school community?, students worked in groups to conduct oral histories of school staff, develop meaningful interview questions, learn poetic structures, translate their interviews into ode poems, photograph their subjects in their work settings, and create photographic collages. Then they critiqued and shared their work and reflected on their learning through discussion and writing. In the process, students learned framing, composition, and point-of-view—standards-based concepts from both photography and language arts curricula. The teaching team observed that the resulting student work showed evidence of great respect for the photographic subjects as well as high-quality art and writing. The project was also exhibited at the “Talkin’ Back” show at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago.