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Art Partners

Promoting equity, diversity and access to art experiences for all children

Help Peoples' Dreams Come True

Community Message Mural by 2nd Grade Art Partners

Art Partners brings college students and faculty, school teachers and children together every week throughout the school year for learning experiences that are grounded in the activities of viewing, discussing, interpreting, valuing, preserving and making works of art. Through carefully designed activities drawn from the disciplines of art history, art criticism, aesthetics and art production, the Art Partners curriculum supports learning in many areas of the children's school experience, including language arts, social studies, cognitive development, socializations skills and emotional intelligence.

Viewers are invited to learn about our program and share in the ideas offered for addressing the needs of diverse learners through art. It is our hope that this effort will inspire others to create similar programs in their own area of the world.

Art Partners is a collaborative fieldwork program involving faculty and students from Buffalo State College (BSC), Buffalo, NY, with teachers and students in Buffalo Public Schools. The program was founded in 1994 by its coordinator, Professor Lucy Andrus, a member of the Art Education Department. Each semester, Professor Andrus and a team of students enrolled in her course, Art for Children with Special Needs, bring the Art Partners program to two designated school sites in the city of Buffalo.

Art Partners focuses on urban students attending inner city schools who have special learning needs. This includes students with identified disabilities as well as students considered at risk due to social, economic, environmental and/or other life circumstances that negatively affect their ability to succeed in school and society.

Art Partners is especially important for those children who do not receive art education taught by art specialists, as well as those children who can better express themselves and demonstrate their diverse capabilities through a program that differentiates instruction and takes a learning through the arts approach. In collaboration with the children's classroom teachers, the art experiences the children receive are designed to promote established goals and objectives in children's Individualized Education programs (IEPs) and/or regular classroom curriculum.

The program's commitment to supporting equity and diversity assures that curriculum and instructional methodology are culturally competent. In addition to the general multicultural perspective practiced by the program, Art Partners also teaches about the peoples, traditions, and aesthetic productions of various cultures, including the Americas. The Art Partners curriculum is comprised of thematic units of study with sequential lessons that build upon each other in promoting goals, objectives, and New York State Standards for the Arts.

Following each session, the Art Partners teaching team meets together for purposes of supervision, assessment of outcomes, and curriculum planning. This time also provides the student teacher members a chance to express and process their personal subjective response to working with the children, and an opportunity for their professor to gain greater insight into the experience of teachers-in-training.

Each year, Art Partners culminates in a special event inviting others to celebrate accomplishments and share in learning experiences. This may be a special exhibition of participants' artwork with a reception open to the community at large, or installation of the World Cultures Fair where all at the host school are invited to attend and participate in hands-on activities. At it's five-year anniversary exhibition in 1998 at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, the Art Partners program received a special citation of recognition from the New York State Assembly through the office of Assemblyman, Sam Hoyt.

To date, the Art Partners program has worked with the students and teachers at Buffalo's BUILD Academy, Broadway Village School 57, and the Community-Based Special Education program at McKinley High School. Financial support for the program has been a combination of out-of-pocket donations and grants obtained from the Center for Development of Human Services, the Resurgent City Center, and the Erie County Legislature through the office of Legislator Crystal Peoples.


This is a non-commercial website and is to be used for educational or research purposes only. No commercial use of these images is permitted without the consent of Art Partners. "Fair use" is claimed under U.S. copyright law, sections 107 and 108

For questions contact:Art Partners

2002 Art Partners Program | All Rights Reserved

All Material Written by Lucy Andrus unless otherwise specified.
Site Developed and Maintained by Lucy Andrus.
Technical assistance courtesy of Tom Rowan.
Special thanks to Deb Sterner.