"Every child should have an opportunity
to experience something as powerful as this."
-PARENT of participant in Project Creo, Ecuador
We get by with a little help from our friends...
During its development, Project Creo has received Broadway veterans, Julliard graduates and teaching artist professionals from around the world as volunteers through it's partner "Artists Striving to End Poverty" (ASTEP). These Guests Artists have assisted in the implementation of arts projects and summer camps, while teaching alongside Ecuadorian artists.
In 2011, Project CREO of Arts InterFACE joined forces with Foundation CRISFE of Banco Pichincha - the largest bank in Ecuador - in the creation of a pilot program housed in a cultural center in Quito. By the end of 2013, the program began a replication process to a national level, reaching approximately 3,000 students, teachers and parents around the country.
Project Creo designed the program to be locally sustainable and replicable throughout Ecuador. All staff was locally hired and trained in Project Creo methodology through support of CRISFE, and partnerships were created with community institutions and government based education departments in order to share the power of the arts in a culturally specific experience.
See the video created for CRISFE (the video is in Spanish; the English version is coming soon):
The program consists of three major components:
Inspired by Project Creo's partner The Metropolitan Opera Guild, the school program sends trained teaching artists to work directly with school teachers in the classroom in order to develop an original creative project based on school curriculum - using music, theater, art, and dance. This arts based teaching approach provides educators with the much needed tools that foster active participation within the classroom while developing important skills that students need in order to be successful in the 21st century - such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. In addition to accompanying the teachers throughout the school year, the program offers workshops on creativity in the classroom through the municipal secretary of education.
Using a project-based teaching method connected to UN millennium goals, the program trains local artists in various areas throughout the country to work directly with local orphanages and foundations that serve children and youth who face poverty, domestic abuse, school drop-outs, youth pregnancy, recovery from addiction, street violence, crime and child labor. These programs use the arts to teach life changing lessons on subjects such as values, health, finances, and environmental preservation. The initial pilot year was housed in the cultural center in Quito, which includes a newly constructed professional recording studio as well as studios for art, music, dance, theater, and film.
All participants work together to create original arts projects exploring important social themes while formulating and working towards a common goal (examples of projects include: a film premier exploring values and respect, an artistic health fair to teach the community about healthy life practices, using the arts to create a small business, and an eco-friendly campaign on recycling). At the end of each project, events are organized to share the work with local and international audiences, inspiring community involvement, dialogue, and service.
A third component of the program provides professional development workshops for other foundations, small businesses, and schools. These workshops address the high demand for creativity in the workforce that affects current and future generations within the country. It uses the arts to foster important business skills, as well as positive motivation in the workplace.
In evaluating the program, local teachers and parents had the following to say:
“The program raised the self-esteem of the children, because they learned to believe and create...the process allowed for them to develop thier own creativity, imagination and responsibility.”
“My children are developing on an emotional level, and it pleases me so much becuase I see my daughter acting in front of others, and I’m filled with an incredible amount of joy.”
“The students broadened their knowledge when we transformed the theory of the class curriculum into a more practical application through the artistic process.”
"Personally it's given me more sensitivity to the children, their situations and their feelings. Professionally, I have learned about teaching methods and classroom management."
“The students gained significant and permanent life lessons. They took subjects from the school curriculum and expressed them with a new language.”
The results are in...
Achieving pre-defined goals at an average rate of 100%, the program superceded it’s expectations, reaching 3,000 beneficiaries throughout the pilot years.
After a qualitative evalution, the responses of participants revealed that the programs:
provided support to acheive curriculum goals in language and literature,
helped to develop in its participants the necessary skills needed in the 21st century (creativity, collaboration, comunication, confidence and criticial thinking) recognized by the initative “21st century skills project,”
involved high numbers of parents and family members in support of their children’s learning process through their involvement in the program, and
the participants and their representatives voiced a high demand for the continuation and expansion of the program.
After a quantitative evaluation of questionaires given throughout the pilot year, more then the majority of participants (85-100%), whether youth or teachers, expressed that the program was successful in accomplishing its goals of improving the self-esteem of the participants and fostering their innate creativity.