Image © 2010 Creative Action
MINDPOP helps schools across Austin to expand creative learning in the classroom.
We believe that engaging students is the key to learning. The more we engage their minds and imaginations, the more success they have in school and beyond. That rewarding moment when everything clicks – the epiphany we call a “mindpop” – is what excites and motivates students and teachers alike. And research shows it happens more often when teachers incorporate the arts into their lessons: music, dance, writing, theater and more. Our goal at MINDPOP, then, is to help classrooms across Austin become rich in creative learning.
To help bring this goal to reality, MINDPOP fosters a vibrant collaboration between the school district and the community. The work paid off this past August when the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts named Austin as the seventh city to receive their Any Given Child Grant. Concurrently rolling out this fall is MINDPOP’s pilot project with Austin ISD called the Creative Classroom.
National research shows that involving students in the arts improves their academic performance, attendance and behavior. One study found that creative learning opportunities for low-resourced kids more than doubles their likelihood of attending college.1 This has special significance for AISD. More than 60 percent of students qualify for government lunch programs.
In school systems where arts-based learning is sustained, students from all backgrounds tend to be engaged, inquisitive and motivated to explore new ideas. These traits go with them into adulthood.
In a recent survey, 1500 CEOs of global organizations reported that creativity (not leadership, reliability or business acumen)is the trait they most value in their employees. With many thousands of creative jobs located in the Austin area, an arts-rich educational system has double impact: • Preparing students to compete, and • Developing a qualified workforce for the community.
Austin’s creative energy and enthusiasm for learning make it an ideal setting and resource for creative learning. Still, there is “a way to go” to provide quality arts-rich opportunities for all students and all schools.
In 2009, under the leadership of Dr. Brent Hasty, mindPOP was founded as a project of the Austin Community Foundation. Its mission: to identify gaps in arts distribution, and to coordinate a way forward—building momentum, creating tools and pilot programs, and finally establishing a blueprint for district-wide and city-wide arts programming.