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The school year is here and so is CAL’s Resource Guide! We’ve added several new artists to our roster and have expanded our offerings for in-school programming, out-of-school time, and STEAM learning.

Check your mailbox for your copy or download the 2017-18 RESOURCE GUIDE today and see what’s new for this year.

Apply Now for ArtWorks Fall 2017!

ArtWorks – CAL’s immersive student apprentice program –is now accepting applications for its 5th fall session which will run from September 25 – December 13. Applicants should be in Grades 10, 11, or 12.

Over the course of the 12-week afterschool session, 40 student apprentices will earn a stipend while training every Monday and Wednesday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm in one of four arts-based co-ops. This fall’s art forms include: theatre, film making, digital illustration, and web design and development.

Every other Wednesday the ArtWorks apprentices will participate in professional development that include guest speaker workshops presented by Bank of America representatives who will provide coaching on personal banking and financial literacy and Volunteer Lawyers for Artists who will share insights on artist rights.

Apply now for ArtWorks Fall 2017.

ArtWorks Summer is Underway!

ArtWorks – CAL’s immersive apprentice program – kicks off its 12th summer session as 100 new student apprentices begin their training in one of eight arts-based co-ops. This summer’s art forms include: comic book creation, dance, game design, film making, performance poetry, photography, recording arts, and visual arts.

In addition to developing artistic expertise and building a sense of community-focused engagement, each Tuesday the ArtWorks apprentices will participate in professional development that introduces a wide range of career and life skills. Highlights of the upcoming guest speaker workshops include Bank of America representatives who will provide coaching on personal banking and financial literacy and Thomas Fox of Creative Mornings Cleveland who will share insights on marketing.

Over the course of the 5-week program, the paid apprentices train Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Participating students are from 28 schools throughout Northeast Ohio, including 11 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District; 46% of students are Cleveland residents and 36% live in the inner ring suburbs; and students range from grades 9 – 12, with 80% in their sophomore or junior year.

The program culminates with a showcase performance on Tuesday, July 25 at 6pm at the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus. The showcase performance is free and open to the public.

Read more about ArtWorks and learn how to apply for the Fall session.

Success with STEAM

Arts are about experimentation. It is a process that looks at the familiar, then flips the perspective to reveal new thinking. Colors, shapes, and lines come together to create a desired or an unexpected result. Music and movement develop patterns and themes that challenge their surroundings. The freedom to think beyond a set structure creates authentic experiences through arts-infused education. And that critical, creative thinking is the basis of the STEM to STEAM movement.

It has been a mission of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to change the conversation to add Art and Design to the national agenda of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education and research in America. The goal is to foster the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer. Art and design education teaches the flexible thinking, risk-taking and creative problem solving skills needed to solve today’s most complex and pressing challenges±from healthcare to urban revitalization to global warming.

In an article for, Arts Integration Specialist Susan Riley wrote about the way that STEAM brings together the critical components of how and what, and laces them together with why. “Think of STEAM as teaching through integrated network hubs where information is curated, shared, explored and molded into new ways of seeing and being through collaborative risk taking and creativity. This means that students are using the skills and processes learned in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics to think deeply, ask non-Googleable questions and solve problems.”

Educators are seeing a rise in student curriculum retention when the arts are part of the learning. That’s where Center for Arts-Inspired Learning’s experienced teaching artists are an essential aspect to the classroom. “It provides an authentic experience for learning,” said CAL Resident Teaching Artist Emma Parker. “The arts get kids up and out of chairs which energizes a different part of the brain. It takes the learning experience and makes it tangible.”

CAL artist collaborate with educators, using curriculum goals to find a new and different pathway in order to reach a broad section of learners. Developing these project-based strategies to tackle education engages students in ways to retain knowledge because they helped create their own learning. “When I go back into a school, students I had years earlier stop me in the hall to show me the dance moves we learned and tell me how it helps them with their subjects,” said Parker. “They are so excited to show me they remembered.”

Industries recognize there is no innovation without creativity. How can we keep challenging students and prepare for the needs of a 21st-Century landscape? Let’s start now with a creative present to spark their innovative futures.


Design Thinking Workshops, in partnership with the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Institute, that prepare students for critical thinking, solutions-based learning.

Painting ratios and fractions by mixing paint and representing metrics through the visual changes in color.

Using dance and the force of the body to explore gravity in a combination of technology, science theory, and the movement of the human body.

Sound Science, taking a musical journey through the scientific concepts of how sound travels.

There are so many ways to integrate the arts into a rich learning experience. Talk to CAL’s Education Department to discuss the best ways to partner. View a sample of our programs or call 216.561.5005 to speak to one of our arts-integration experts.

Can the Arts Help a School Reach Its Full Potential

Franklin Elementary in Elyria Welcomes Teaching Artists Into Every Classroom

In the 2014-15 school year, Franklin Elementary in Elyria set many goals to build a stronger school. They want to increase depth of learning, test scores, student retention, and parental involvement. And they are using the arts to bring the school down the path to success. In a unique residency partnership, and with the support of a grant from The Stocker Foundation, all students are able to work directly with a Center for Arts-Inspired Learning teaching artist. CAL worked directly with teachers to find the best use for arts to underline their curriculum. Pre-K students used The Wiggle Jig program to improve kindergarten readiness by infusing movement and dance into other subject areas. Kindergarten, first and second grade students worked with the Arts for Learning-Between the Lions Residencies to engage in increased literacy development. Third-graders used the visual arts for a Marvelous Math Residency, creating a math-based mural that became a permanent fixture in the school. Fourth-graders used history lessons in a play celebrating the cultures that settled the state of Ohio. And fifth grade students worked in a Digital Filmmaking Residency to develop and film demonstration videos of various physical science concepts.

“Throughout the school year, the program really helped bring a lot of students out of their shells and parents were able to notice a difference in their students’ gross motor skills,” said Erin German, a PreK Teacher at Franklin Elementary. “Parents loved every extra support that we were able to give students last year.” All of this culminated in an evening of arts programming where adults and siblings participated in the same active learning and eager children could be the teachers for their families. And it was a night to showcase the new success and excitement at the school.

Arts Allow Freedom of Expression at Juvenile Justice Center

The arts are a powerful form of expression, especially for those most in need of channeling their hopes and strengths in new ways. For the first time in a long-term partnership with the Juvenile Justice Center of Cuyahoga County, CAL artists worked with the youth in their detention housing to engage in the arts in a way they have not been able to before. It opened possibilities to learn about themselves and for some, the opportunity to just be playful for the first time.

CAL artists designed projects that practiced discipline through percussion drumming, individual purpose through visual arts, drawing out and reflecting on personal experience through journaling, and creating trust through theater games. “Designing and creating a three-dimensional object can be a powerful force for change and growth,” said visual artist Kristen Cliffel. “Taking control of things that we are able to moves us forward and gives us purpose and meaning.”

Digital Storytelling Helps Students “Find A Voice”

Center for Arts-Inspired Learning’s partnership with Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Ohio Arts Council gives platform for social issues

Immigration. Bullying. The importance of fathers. The dangers of taking the perfect selfie. Students are faced with a number of social issues that impact their lives, tap their curiosity, or make them examine their place in a larger world. But when do we ask young people their thoughts on what happens in their world?

This fall, Center for Arts-Inspired Learning asked those questions of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from 12 schools across the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The program, “Find a Voice,” used digital media to blend traditional storytelling techniques with modern technology to address local and global community needs. CAL teaching artists helped the students research and then weave together a social issue or autobiographical story into a two-to-three minute digital work with still and video images, music, narrative and voice, creating a cohesive and compelling multimedia presentation.

Experimenting with new forms of technology, the students learned how incorporating digital media adds impact and dimension to their stories. “I was really surprised at the maturity in the students,” said Jimmie Woody, a CAL Resident Teaching Artist who worked with several schools during the project. “They were choosing topics like human trafficking or telling stories from their lives and really putting their hearts into the process.”

Support for this program was generously provided by the Ohio Arts Council

WEDNESDAY, FEB 17 at 6pm

The red carpet rolls out at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Hall as one selection from each of the participating schools will be screened at a district-wide film festival. Open to the community, all are invited to see the world through the talented eyes of the next generation.

Three CMSD high schools take unique approaches to learning



When the Cleveland Metropolitan School District(CMSD) opened the Cleveland High School for Digital Arts in the 2014-15 school year, 15-year-old Marvin Watts took interest. “They told me I could write my own script,” he recalls. “It interested me because the school offers some classes you might not get until you go to college – like film – and I’m very interested in film.”
Not only did Watts get to write his movie script, he was able to direct, edit and turn it into an actual movie by the end of his ninth grade year. This year, as a 10thgrader, Watts is working on a new script while also concentrating on his core classes as part of a college prep curriculum.

The Cleveland High School for Digital Arts is one of three newer high schools in the CMSD, each offering a well-rounded basic education along with special tracks to cater to those students aspiring to go on to college upon graduation, study special interests – like Watts is – and develop critical thinking skills to make an impact in the world.

“The creation of schools like Digital Arts is a major goal of Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools,” says Piet van Lier of the Cleveland Transformation Alliance. Passed by the state legislature in 2012, the Cleveland Plan seeks to provide quality options for all Cleveland children.

Digital Arts incorporates technology in arts, music and cinema around a core curriculum of college preparatory classes; Bard High School Early College allows students to earn an associate’s degree while earning their high school diplomas; and JFK E3agle Academy uses technology to master the skills needed for 21stCentury careers and college.

Some of the teachers at these schools share their perspectives on what these unique programs offer students in the CMSD.

Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts

Marsha Dobrzynski, executive director of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learningand Digital Arts advisory board chair, developed the vision for the school four years ago after watching students at the center creating a digital game about Egypt. What started as a game about modern-day Egypt and the Arab Spring eventually evolved into a game about ancient Egypt after the students began research for the game.

“Watching the way these kids became engaged in these art forms and taking a personal interest in learning I thought ‘why can’t we transfer learning from this program to high school,’” she recalls. “They were taking ownership over learning – researching their own content for the game.”

Dobrzynski researched similar schools around the country and presented her idea to the Gund Foundation and Cleveland Foundation. Both foundations funded the school’s start up and provided funding again this year through the CMSD. The school opened as a CMSD public school at 1440 Lakeside Avenue in July 2014.

“Our goal is to be a college preparatory school that uses digital media to be that hook,” says Dobrzynski. “So many young people need to make it relevant to them. It’s a different way to approach subject matter. They get to understand why they’re working on things too.”

Digital Arts runs on a year-round schedule, with four 10-week sessions and three-week breaks, and the school day spans an extended day schedule – going from 9am to 5:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and lets out at 3:30pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Every student gets laptops that they can take home

The school began with ninth grade students in its inaugural year. This year, tenth grade was added. Eleventh and twelfth grades will be added in each of the next two years. “We have 160 kids this year,” says English teacher Jennifer Poland. “Our goal is 200.”

Poland came to Digital Arts in its first year to teach film and transitioned into English this year. The school’s academic structure is one in which all subjects interrelate to encourage project-based learning. “The students are coming here are choosing to explore the digital arts,” explains Poland. “The core curriculum implements the core subject around the digital arts.”

For instance, last year the students filmed a cooking competition show that incorporated what they were learning about the Revolutionary War in chemistry, math, social studies, English and history. “We used history to research the foods available during the Revolutionary War, using their chemistry knowledge to win extra ingredients and cook the food and writing research papers about the era,” says Poland. The students filmed the whole show, and each student edited his or her own version of the show.

Each school year is based on an “essential question.” This year’s question for ninth graders is “How does change happen?” Students are studying street drugs – the social impact of them in social studies, the chemical reactions on the body in science, and writing research papers on how drug consumption changes behavior and affects society in English.

“The goal is to make them see the relations,” says Poland. “Kids don’t care about research papers, but once you tie it in through their lives, they’re connected.”

Digital Arts uses a learning mastery approach, in which students study a subject until they have a full knowledge of it. There is no such things as a failing grade, students simply stay at it until they have mastered it.

Bard High School Early College

Bard High School Early College first opened last year before moving this year to its new home at 13501 Terminal Ave. The school focuses on a liberal arts curriculum. Upon graduation Bard students not only receive their high school diplomas, they also earn an associate in arts degree from Bard College.

The school opened to ninth graders and eleventh graders last year. By the time it reaches full enrollment, Bard will serve grades nine through 12. Eleventh and twelfth graders at Bard are known as “year ones” and “year twos,” respectively, because they are on track at that point to earn their college degrees.

There are currently 260 students, most of them in ninth and tenth grade, and of this year’s twelfth grade class about 18 will graduate with their associate’s degrees in May.

“It’s about access,” says Bard principal Dumaine Williams. “A lot of students don’t necessarily have access to liberal arts and college curriculums in high school.” It also alleviates some of the stress some students feel about paying for college.

That access also means developing a different way of thinking, Williams says. “It teaches critical thinking, providing a voice. It’s taking a look at your work and saying, ‘what do you think?’ It allows you to look at four years of high school productively and get the most out of it.”

Alan Mintz, a working artist with a 26-year record of teaching in CMSD schools and at the college level, teaches art at Bard. “The atmosphere we’re trying to create is that of a college campus, rather than a high school,” he says.

Mintz agrees that Bard teaches high school kids critical thinking skills. “It’s using the process to focus them and help them better understand what they’re learning,” he says. “It’s run very much like a college with seminars and intensive discussions.”

In teaching art, Mintz encourages his students to reflect on what they are doing, rather than just creating a piece of art.

After more than 20 years in teaching, Mintz says he’s happy with the formula at Bard. “I feel very fulfilled as teacher, and I’m working my tail off,” he says.

Bard students must go through an application process to attend the school. They must have a good GPA, write a creative, self-expression essay, interview with a faculty member or admissions counselor and provide a letter of recommendation. But admission is not strictly based on their academic record.

“Basically, what we’re looking for are students who have a strong passion for learning,” says Mintz.

JFK E3agle Academy

JFK E3agle Academy opened last school year to ninth grade students and this year houses ninth and tenth graders. The school uses computers to prepare students for today’s technology-driven world. The E3 in the school’s name stands for “Envision, Engage, Excel.”

Like Digital Arts, E3agle uses a mastery method to teach college preparatory classes and measure achievement. Rather than assign grades or fail a student who doesn’t complete the coursework satisfactorily, they simply keep at it until they have mastered it.

“We don’t give out Fs or Ds in mastery based learning,” says music teacher Aeneas Alldredge. “We have workshops for whatever they need help with. There’s good research that shows students learn at the mastery level and use it in everyday life. They have greater success.”

Ninth grader Isaac Eally, 14, says he prefers the seminars and workshops over traditional classroom learning. “It’s more advanced, more involved,” he says. “It’s interesting.”

Like Bard, the curriculum is designed to encourage critical thinking, active learning and leadership. E3agle also puts a technology spin on learning – every student gets a laptop. Classes are taught in the classroom and through an online curriculum.

“We’re trying to create a better balance of having students on the computer with the online curriculum as well as work in a regular more practical setting,” explains math teacher Louis Durbin, who has been with the school since it started. “The big thing we’re trying to create here is for students to be self-driven and motivated to watch over their own progress.”

Tenth grader Willie Parker, 15, was particularly attracted to the technology angle of E3agle’s model. “I like taking the computer home to work on most of the time,” he says. “I thought E3agle was a good chance for me to try something new.”

Tenth grader Joslainie Gonzales, 15, says she was intimidated by the new model when she enrolled at E3agle last year as a ninth grader. “At first it was a struggle, knowing how to use computers and online learning,” she recalls. “As soon as you get used to it you start catching up. Here, you do more with the computer but also even with the teachers. And it helps me to work at my own pace. If you need help with this, go to a teacher for help.”

Also like Digital Arts, E3agle operates on a year-round schedule of 10 weeks on, three weeks off. Teachers spend one of the off weeks each quarter on professional development.

Despite E3agle’s success, Durbin says they still have a long way to go. “As we’ve been changing students’ mindsets we’re also changing what we see happening in our schools,” he says. “By no means is anyone satisfied. This is a group who care and has high expectations. We’ve made great improvements, but we are nowhere near where we want to be yet.”

New schools driven by the Cleveland Plan

These high schools are too new to be rated by the Transformation Alliance, tasked by the state with assessing all public schools in Cleveland on its website and in its printed School Quality Guide.

“New schools like Digital Arts, E3agle, and Bard are very exciting in the context of the Cleveland Plan because they provide new opportunities for Cleveland families, quality options that can help guide students on the path to career and college,” says the Alliance’s van Lier.

Center for Arts-Inspired Learning Launches Resident Teaching Artist Program, Adding 5 More Positions to Staff


After celebration of its 60th anniversary, change in hiring strategy strengthens the Cleveland non-profit team; adds new jobs to NEO creative landscape

Cleveland, OH (August 21, 2014)—For over 60 years, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (former Young Audiences) has worked with some of the top talent in Northeast Ohio. Building a roster of over 100 teaching artists, CAL has been able to pair working artists with area educators to benefit youth education. In the last year alone, CAL’s roster of contracted teaching artists engaged students in 5,432 programs.

This week, CAL grew its staff by 1/3, adding 4 resident teaching artist positions. This uniquely positions the Center amongst its peers by including teaching artists as part of the permanent staff. The Center looked to the regional artistic community with the goal of keeping top talent in Ohio and provide an opportunity to hire artists as artists. The response to the positions was high with over 70 applicants considered. Coming from a variety of artistic backgrounds, this group was assembled to work as a team and has been challenged to build new programs for CAL that are innovative, multi-disciplinary, and teach 21st-century skills to students. The resident artists will also work directly with the incredible artists on CAL’s roster who have helped grow its reputation as the authority on arts-infused education. Candidates for a team-leader position are still being considered.

The possibilities of working with these artists on a day-to-day basis has energized the staff. Director of Programs Mike Obertacz, who spearheaded the change in hiring, said, “This change creates a very exciting new structure for the organization. Professional teaching artists are central to the quality and success of programs and partnerships at CAL. This investment infuses the organization with creativity and innovation that not only makes us more successful today, but in creating a stronger vision for the future.”


Carla Carter

Carla LynDale Carter is a mother of three, a filmmaker and an educator from the Cleveland area and had taught a variety of film production and Game Design courses. She received her BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Chicago and her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. While in Philadelphia, she served as Video Facilitator at Scribe Video Center teaching various community groups how to make documentaries that promote social change. These programs were broadcast on PBS as part of the Precious Places Series, WHYY TV 12 and started her passion for using media as a tool for activism and change. Carla has been a Visiting Instructor at Oberlin College, teaching courses in Video Production, Black Cinema, Editing, and Media Literacy Pedagogy. In 2013, she started the organization Focused.Arts.Media.Education. (FAME), which engages youth in documentary filmmaking to create media that matters in their communities while teaching media production curriculum that promotes Social and Emotional Learning. She has a sincere passion in using her filmmaking and technology expertise to excite, engage, and promote self-expression in youth. Carla produced several documentaries that have screened in film festivals throughout Philadelphia and Cleveland and enjoys producing documentaries that engage whole communities.

Mark Yasenchack

Mark Yasenchack is a teaching artist who grew up in Parma, Ohio. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Baldwin-Wallace College he pursued a career in art and teaching, combining subject matter and natural forms from his biology background with the craft of ceramics, mosaics and collage and his love for teaching children. Currently his focus has been on mosaic murals that combine hand-made clay tiles with the traditional stone and glass tesserae. He has been delighted and inspired by the magic of working side by side with preschoolers and teenagers to create murals, the goal not being a take-home item but a shared collaborative experience.

Jimmie Woody

Jimmie Woody is a professional actor, director and teaching artist who has worked with many diverse age groups and cultures throughout Cleveland and New York. As an actor he has performed at historic venues such as Karamu House, Cleveland Playhouse, La Mama ETC and The New York Shakespeare Festival. As a director he’s translated Paul Fleischman’s “Seedfolks” for the Tri-C JazzFest and the Cleveland Public Library. And as a teacher Mr. Woody taught drama at The Cleveland School of the Arts, Warrensville Heights High School, Cleveland Heights High School and the High School for Global Citizenship in Brooklyn, New York. He currently teaches acting for the camera and stage at Cuyahoga Community College and enjoys working with various community outreach programs throughout Cleveland. In 2012, he received the Community Workforce Fellowship Grant. Mr. Woody studied at Columbia University in New York, where he earned an M.F.A. in acting.

Lisa Yanofsky

Lisa Yanofsky is a choreographer, performer and educator working across dance, music and theatre. Most recently, she received her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Harvard, Lisa was named a Project Zero Artist-In-Residence and was commissioned to create an original piece merging movement, text, and music. As a singer, Lisa has performed in the United States, Italy, Austria, The Czech Republic and Germany. She holds a B.A. in Art History and Dance from Oberlin College and a B.M. in Vocal Performance and Embodying Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

About the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning

The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (formerly Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio) enriches the lives of children and promotes creative learning by uniting arts and education. Organized in 1953, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning is the only multi-arts resource for schools and communities in the region whose primary purpose is to make learning through the arts an essential part of young people’s education. Programs take place in public, private, and parochial schools as well as libraries, hospitals and other civic spaces, reaching nearly 220,000 young people each year. For more information visit


North Ridgeville school assembly tells story of last fugitive slave

Jon Wysochanski, The Morning Journal
Click here to read the story online.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A special visitor took children back in time for a firsthand look into the life of a fugitive slave.

On Jan. 21 students at Wilcox Elementary, 34580 Bainbridge Road, watched actress Robin Pease perform “Last Fugitive Slave: It Happened in Ohio,” the true story of Sarah Lucy Bagby.

According to Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Bagby escaped from her master in Virginia in 1860 and found refuge in Cleveland. Her master, William Goshorn, tracked her down and had her arrested by U.S. Marshals on Jan. 19, 1861. Read More ›

A Mural Grows in Slavic Village with @ArtsInspiredCAL

Artist Melinda Placko, working with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning at the Fullerton School in Slavic Village, supervises the creation of a mural in the school’s gym.

While CAL’s programs using arts tied to curriculum usually take place in the classroom, Ms. Placko was able to take a few moments to talk with Cool Cleveland as she worked with the students and their parents, donning smocks and working on the mural to spell out the word “Fullerton.” View the video here.

High school that teaches through video games, film and music: Coming to Cleveland soon?

Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer
Click here to read the story online.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It sounds like a teenager’s dream: A high school where you listen to music, watch movies and play video games all day.

At the planned Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts, film, music and video games won’t be things a student does behind the backs of teachers. They’ll be part of every lesson and project and assignment students have to turn in.

But, sorry kids, playing Grand Theft Auto or watching the new Hunger Games flick won’t be the norm at the school, which could be open to Cleveland students by the fall. Marsha Dobrzynski of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, formerly known as Young Audiences, hopes to have the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts open by the fall. Read More ›