At the core of Cool Culture’s work is the use of art and culture as a vehicle for transformation that engages our emotional, intellectual and political imaginations. Cool Culture believes that art is a human right, a powerful means of self-expression, and a bridge that allows us to transcend boundaries between and across cultures to build community and to increase our capacity for dialogue and understanding.
Locating families at the center of our work, we form strategic partnerships with schools, cultural institutions, artists, community leaders, government agencies, and community-based organizations.
As a learning organization, we use an iterative model to create a framework for collaboration, resources, platforms and tools that are responsive to the needs of families and communities, positioning them as drivers of change. Outcomes and learnings are shared with our institutional partners through a series of trainings for professionals. Over the past 18 years, we have collaborated with families, schools and museums to redistribute cultural resources, increase cultural participation, build community and address cultural equity. Cool Culture’s many program models are outlined below.
Provides 50,000 families in 450 Early Childhood Centers and Title 1 Department of Education schools with a Cool Culture Family Pass that offers families a year of unlimited, free admission for up to five people to our 90 New York City cultural institution partners.
Cool Culture offers our education partners Professional Development workshops and a wide variety of resources focused on family involvement through the arts, in addition to producing family events and multilingual educational materials for all 50,000 families.
Our events draw as many as 2,600 parents and children to a single co-created museum event, and annually, parents and children walk through the doors of our partner cultural institutions 185,000 times at no cost
Brings art to communities including Harlem, Chinatown, Corona, Queens and Bedford Stuyvesant/Crown Heights in Brooklyn, building relationships between families, educators, and museum professionals who work together to develop tailored programming for children and families. Key to the success of the Intensive program is the Family Leaders component, which leverages adult caregivers’ leadership capacity. Family Leaders, as graduates of an 8-part training series, provide peer-to-peer outreach and support throughout the duration of the program.
Creates and implements a series of seminars that guide the next generation of museum professionals in developing participatory programming. Participants also build skills in soliciting feedback from historically marginalized families about their exhibitions and programming, and in advocating for change in their institutions. Click here to learn more about the Laboratory for New Audiences.
Our new multi-year initiative, We Are All Curators, aims to leverage art and culture to counter dominant narratives and beliefs surrounding African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) families 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.
The Initiative uses curation as a theme in both the traditional and broadest sense, from curation of objects in a museum or home, to families’ organization of experiences for their children and other loved ones, to choices about what we wear and eat to demystify curatorial practice and expand perceptions of who creates and exhibits art.
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