The City of Mesa Arts and Culture Department is excited to announce Learning ReimaginED, a virtual portal to the educational community providing one-stop, easy-to-use access to learning resources in STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). With the on-going health crisis and many school field trips on hold, Mesa Arts Center, Arizona Museum of Natural History and i.d.e.a. Museum, and partners Mesa Historical Museum and Southwest Shakespeare Company wanted to ensure their programming and resources are accessible to educators and home-schooling parents.
“We are thrilled that these five institutions have come together to support Arizona students during these challenging times,” said Cindy Ornstein, Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa and Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center. “The programs offered should be able to help enliven classrooms, engage students’ critical thinking and creativity, and help motivate students to stay engaged with learning. The lion’s share of these resources are offered free of charge.”
The portal will open students to a variety of worlds and discoveries, spanning all ages and a wide array of subjects. Young explorers will take flight with their imaginations, discern how the scientific method helps us separate fact from fiction, journey back in time to the pioneer days of Arizona, and gain a new appreciation for the power of story and the joy of self-expression. Students will discover the power of image and metaphor through works of art and the works of Shakespeare, experience the joy of great music, and learn about the ancient civilizations of our region, and the dinosaurs that roamed this state over sixty million years ago.
The learning resources can be used in any learning environment, from traditional classrooms to kitchen tables, with in-person or online learning. Offerings from Mesa’s Department of Arts and Culture are divided by target age groups, and a Community Partners page features programs from Mesa Historical Museum and Southwest Shakespeare Company.
Mesa Arts Center will host several virtual and in-person programs including Project Lit, a program that uses poetry, spoken word and hip hop to promote literacy and activate social and emotional learning. Also, the Classical Music Inside Out program will feature Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey, performing and engaging students virtually in 45-minute virtual “informances.” Finally, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum will host virtual gallery tours and discussions on topics ranging from Tradition and Innovation to Behind the Scenes, a look at what it takes to curate a museum art exhibition.
Arizona Museum of Natural History’s programs will target students in grades 3 – 5. The educator resources cover a variety of topics including Dinosaur Teeth, Fossil Detectives, Science of Sauropods and Paleo Art and Diets. All educator resources align with (specific grade level) Arizona state science standards.
i.d.e.a. Museum’s programs will target students from pre-school through grade 6. The first program, called Art of the Story Virtual Guided Tour, is aligned with Arizona Academic Standards and features a virtual guided tour complete with hands-on activities including one art-making activity. The second program, Artful Tales Experience is aligned with Arizona Early Learning Standards and includes a link to video of a themed book, age-appropriate artwork viewing and discussion, one art-making activity and an interactive video and presentation by i.d.e.a. Museum’s Gallery Educators.
In addition to the programming by the City of Mesa Arts & Culture Department, Southwest Shakespeare Company will offer virtual performances of Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with study guides for each show, and opportunities for live interactive workshops. Finally, the Mesa Historical Museum will host virtual field trips to their Women in Aviation and Mesa & Arizona Pioneer History exhibitions, accompanied by additional learning resources for each exhibition.