ABOUT US  

OUR MISSION

To amplify the power and voices of families and historically marginalized communities through increased engagement with art and culture within and beyond cultural institutions.

 WHAT WE DO

Since 1999, we have collaborated with families, schools, artists and museums to ensure equitable access to cultural resources, to harness art and culture as tools for creative expression, and to educate, create awareness, strengthen communities, and propel social change. 

We accomplish all this by partnering with:  50,000 African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) families and families from historically marganilized communites with small children; 450+ income eligible New York City schools (public, charter and early childhood centers); 90 premiere NYC cultural institutions (museums, zoos and gardens) 

WHO WE SERVE
Cool Culture families are truly representative of New York City’s “mosaic” fabric.  They live in all five boroughs and reflect the culturally diverse and rich ethnic, geographic and cultural backgrounds found in the proud people who live and work in the city- 39% are Latino, 22% Black, 18% White and 17% Asian. 

OUR PROGRAMS 

Family Pass Program
Cool Culture’s cornerstone initiative works with our 450 
preschool partners to annually provide over 50,000 families with free, unlimited admission to premiere cultural institutions. We produce family events and educational materials to provide parents with ideas for fun, productive museum visits in English, Spanish and Chinese. In 2016, Cool Culture parents and children walked through the doors of our partner museums more than 185,000 times.

Community Collaborations                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Working in Harlem, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Chinatown, Cool Culture carefully pairs schools with museums to co-create programming.  Professional development and training for school and museum educators improve early childhood education quality and help museums to develop future audiences. In the resulting collaborations: 80% of children at each preschool demonstrate an increase in vocabulary and observation skills, and 50% of parents reported understanding more about their child’s interests and abilities.

 

We Are All Curators 

This new multi-year initiative aims to leverage art and culture to counter dominant narratives and beliefs surrounding families of ALAANA descent and families from low-income households. We Are All Curators will facilitate families’, educators’, and communities’ use of art and culture to build community, share their stories, challenge dominant narratives, and ultimately achieve social change. 

 

Services to the Field
These initiatives help museums better engage and serve New York City’s diverse communities. As our programs impact hundreds of thousands of children and parents each year, we have developed a one-of-a-kind cultural dataset that documents the visitation patterns of Cool Culture families. We report outcomes to our partners and the greater field to inform and refine programming. Our Lab for New Audiences educates museum professionals about outreach to nontraditional audiences and early childhood practice.

 KEY AREAS OF IMPACT

Family Engagement and Education 

Research shows family involvement in children’s education is critical.  By age 3, children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have heard on average 32 million words less than children from more affluent families. Our programs are designed to encourage artistic expression, dialogue, critical thinking and engagement, fostering deeper bonds between children and caregivers.

 

Greater Diversity in the Museum Field and Cultural Participation 
Cool Culture programs help museum professionals to refine their outreach to underserved communities and align museum resources to meet the needs and interests of New York City’s increasingly diverse audiences. Furthermore, our programs position families to analyze and question art, as well as create art that accurately depicts their stories and cultures.

 

Community Building

Through our programs, we provide opportunities for community-building among ALAANA and low-income families and their allies – educators, museum professionals, artists and concerned New Yorkers – as well as opportunities to address issues of cultural equity.