The Catholic University of America

Nov. 14, 2006

Kreeger Museum, CUA Receive $232,836 to Develop Arts Education Program

Project Expected to Enhance Cognitive Skills Development in Learning-Disabled Students

The Catholic University of America and Washington, D.C.'s Kreeger Museum have been awarded a $232,836 grant to create an arts program that is expected to enhance the development of cognitive skills in middle school students with learning disabilities.

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the National Leadership Grant to the Kreeger to develop the "Hear Art, See Music" program for small art museums over the next three years in partnership with CUA's education department. CUA received $183,831 of the total grant as a subcontractor on the project.

Carole Brown, the project's special education adviser and a CUA research associate professor, notes that the program has the potential to enhance the offerings of small art museums across the country. For children with special needs, the program has the capacity to support learning beyond the art room, into the classroom, she adds.

"We hope that, through our model, museum educators will design programs that use their own collections to further the learning of all students, especially those with special needs," says Brown. "We foresee the potential for successful, widespread adaptation of the model."

Michael V. Smith, chair of the music education division of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at CUA, and some of his students will help to design the musical aspect of the museum program.

"One of the things we'll be looking at, for instance, is how a musician expresses rhythm compared to the way a visual artist portrays it," says Smith. "This is a rich opportunity for CUA students since it combines the practical side of teaching with the pedagogy they're studying."

In creating the program, CUA faculty and students will work with children at a couple of schools in the D.C. metropolitan area. The program will be designed for grades five through eight. Initially a group of about 10 students would view an art museum exhibit. Then, at subsequent workshops, they would discuss the exhibit with an arts specialist while listening to music and creating their own art.

By stimulating middle school students' imaginations and challenging them to coordinate visual and auditory experiences, the program will help them broaden their aesthetic perceptions, learn new vocabulary and, hopefully, improve their academic skills, Brown adds.

As part of the project, the Kreeger and CUA will develop both a CD-ROM and a Web site with instructional materials about the program. The partners also will develop training for docents who would guide schoolchildren through an art museum.

In 2004, CUA, the Kreeger and VSA arts, a D.C.-based organization that creates learning opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities, collaborated on an exhibit at CUA of artwork by children with special needs.

MEDIA: For more information about the "Hear Art, See Music" project, contact Katie Lee or Chris Harrison in Catholic University's public affairs office at 202-319-5600 or Anka Zaremba or Eileen Wold in the Kreeger Museum's press office at 202-337-3050.

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Catholic University's Department of Education offers undergraduate and graduate programs with professional education coursework needed for state licensure in early childhood, elementary, secondary and special education. The department also offers master of arts and doctoral programs, the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Catholic Educational Leadership and the Professional Development Workshops and Institutes, which are designed for teachers, counselors, administrators, diagnosticians, psychologists and other school personnel to gain credits toward recertification.

The department includes a teacher education unit that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. CUA faculty prepares candidates to become self-directed teachers who use their skills to improve their own practice. Candidates are taught to confront moral and ethical issues and dilemmas in schools to provide the highest quality of education for all students in a global and diverse world.


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Media contact(s):
· Chris Harrison, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600, harrisoc@cua.edu
· Katie Lee, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600, leect@cua.edu