The Texas Cultural Trust awarded 11 fine arts teachers a total of $25,000 in vital funding to implement the Arts & Digital Literacy (ADL) initiative in their schools. Digital literacy is the future of communication and ADL provides free, innovative, TEKS aligned online curricula to enhance fine arts learning through digital mediums.  This curricula transforms how fine arts teachers educate the youth of today and prepares them for the technologically advanced workforce of tomorrow.  The Classroom Technology Grants are awarded annually to certified fine arts teachers to help purchase technology or assist with expenses associated with implementing ADL curricula.  Since 2015, the Texas Cultural Trust has awarded more than $75,500 in 29 grants to 23 certified fine arts teachers.  ADL courses are being taught to over 5,000 students in 217 classrooms in 116 schools across the state. 

“The Trust’s own research shows that students who are enrolled in the arts have up to 15 percent higher pass rates on standardized tests and are half as likely to drop out, said Heidi Marquez Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Cultural Trust.  “The arts keep students engaged, encouraged, and most importantly, in school.  ADL uses the arts as a medium to teach technology, which in turn provides students with integrated, relevant skills that will prepare them for a the 21st century workplace.”

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Classroom Technology Grant Recipients:  

Elisa De La Rosa, MacArthur Ninth Grade School, Aldine, $3,500

John Reimund, Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications & Fine Arts, Laredo, $3,500

Carrie Johnson, Universal Academy Charter School, Irving, $2,500

Laura Castañeda, Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, Houston, $2,500

Brian Cheslik, Texas School for the Deaf, Austin, $2,000

Mirriam Leanne Blackwell, Canyon High School, New Braunfels, $2,500

Hugo Nuñez, Coronado High School, El Paso, $2,500

Maria Miller, Weslaco East High School, Weslaco, $2,000

Brittany Skillern, Westwood High School, Round Rock, $1,500

Jeanne Stewart, Westwood High School, Round Rock, $1,500

Jenna Stephenson, Canyon High School, New Braunfels, $1,500

The Classroom Technology Grants are generously funded by Texas Women for the Arts, a private giving circle of the Texas Cultural Trust that supports arts and arts education programs across the state.  The Arts & Digital Literacy initiative was developed in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts.


The Texas Cultural Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to be the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state.  Programs of the Texas Cultural Trust include the biennial Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Texas Women for the Arts, the Texas Young Masters, Arts & Digital Literacy, and Art Can. The Trust also supports the programs of the Texas Commission on the Arts and other qualifying state agencies. Since 2008, the Texas Cultural Trust has invested more than $3.2 million into arts awareness and education, bringing the total investment to more than $4.9 million.  For more information, please visit www.txculturaltrust.org


The Texas Cultural Trust, in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts, created an innovative suite of classes that bridges the gap between traditional fine arts education and technological instruction. The Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative is a project-based fine arts program that integrates technology into the creative classroom, giving students all the benefits of an arts rich education, while preparing them for the modern workplace. All courses are aligned with the current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for fine arts and count as fine arts credit for graduation. For more information on ADL, please visit www.txculturaltrust.org

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Texas Cultural Trust