Classroom Technology Grants Helps Fine Arts Teachers Meaningfully Integrate Technology In Classroom

The Texas Cultural Trust has awarded 10 fine arts teachers across the state a total of $26,000 to significantly incorporate the use of technology into their artistic classroom.  The Trust’s Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts is an innovative curriculum that bridges technological instruction with fine arts education.  The Arts and Digital Literacy is a series of project based Fine Arts courses for high school students that establish the connection between fine arts education and digital media.  The courses count as fine arts credit required for graduation and are available for free download at www.txartandmedia.orgSince the Classroom Technology Grant’s inception in 2015, the Texas Cultural Trust has awarded over $50,000 to 19 deserving Fine Arts teachers across the state.  Learn more about the Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative by watching this video.

“The Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative transforms fine arts classrooms into a place where students learn important 21st century technological skills,” says Jennifer Ransom Rice, Executive Director of the Texas Cultural Trust.  “Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, Fine Arts is still viewed as a non-essential part of our children’s education. These courses emphasize the impactful role the arts play in technology for all students. High school students leave these classes better prepared for the modern-day workforce while still gaining all of the benefits of arts education – better attendance, better standardized test scores, and higher rates of enrollment in post-graduation education to name a few.”

The 2016 Arts & Digital Literacy Classroom Technology Grantees are:

Dedra K. Espinoza, San Antonio                                                                                  $4,000

NW Campus

Jenna Stephenson, New Braunfels                                                                              $3,000

Canyon High School

Raquel Wiseneke, Fort Worth                                                                                      $2,750

Western Hills High School

Carrie Johnson, Irving                                                                                                  $2,750

Universal Academy LTTS Charter School Irving

Brittany Skillern, Round Rock                                                                                       $2,500

Westwood High School

Jennifer Nowzardan, Austin                                                                                        $2,500

Crockett High School

Brian Cheslik, Austin                                                                                                     $2,500

Texas School for the Deaf

Anna Macias, Austin                                                                                                   $2,000

Lake Travis High School

Laura Castaneda, Brownsville                                                                                      $2,000

Raul Yzagiurre School for Success

Theresa Sneed-Hardy, Dallas                                                                                      $2,000

Pinkston High School

House Bill 5 requires schools teach 21st century learning skills, develop community partnerships, and focus on digital learning. The Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative addresses all of these requirements while keeping students fully engaged in school.  The Trust’s own research shows that students who are enrolled in the arts have up to 15 percent higher pass rates on standardized test scores, are 50 percent less likely to drop out, and have greater rates of enrollment in higher education in Texas than students who are not.  The Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative is based on a combined set of fine arts and technology standards, providing integrated, relevant skills that will prepare students for the 21st century workplace.

The grantees and other Fine Arts teachers will be attending our upcoming professional development Institute, Digital Pioneers, August 1 – 3, 2016 at the AISD Performing Arts Center.  Exciting, hands-on instruction will be offered to high school fine arts teachers interested in meaningfully integrating technology in their classroom using the Arts & Digital Literacy Curricula. An opening reception will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Bob Duke of KUT’s Two Guys on Your Head, on August 1st, 5:00-6:30 pm. Media is invited to attend.

For more information about the Texas Cultural Trust and Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative, visit www.txculturaltrust.org.  To download the curricula for free, visit www.txartandmedia.org.


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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