The C4 Initiative

Creative compact for collective
and Collaborative  impact
at MCLA

Overview

Based at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) the C4 Initiative facilitates a cross-sector, collective impact initiative that maps arts learning to larger regional goals (community engagement, career readiness, prosocial needs of youth, placemaking and connection to Berkshire County) through the:

  • creation and activation of a county-wide blueprint for arts integration and education

  • development and maintenance of a collaborative network, the  Berkshire Cultural Asset Network (convening community engagement and education staff from area arts and culture organizations)

  • creation of an online platform for cultural organizations and educators to support arts education in and out of the classroom in Berkshire County (BRAINworks.mcla.edu)

  • alignment of efforts of cultural organizations and schools to meet larger regional goals.

Initiative Goals

  • Create a shared vision for arts integration and education in the region supported by measurable goals and collaborative strategies

  • Build on the strengths of existing arts education programs in public schools and cultural organizations across Berkshire County to create and activate a blueprint, a long-range plan that embraces the arts as a vehicle for teaching and learning and ensures equitable access to arts education for all PreK-12 public school students in the county

  • Establish career pathways in the arts and culture sector for students interested in both arts careers and areas of cross-sector skill building

  • Align efforts of key stakeholders for regional lift and benefit.

 

Desired Outcomes

Arts Learning for students

  • Berkshire County public school students will have increased opportunities to engage with and learn from the rich array of cultural resources here

  • Berkshire educators will increase their use of arts-based strategies in the classroom as a way to achieve equitable student learning and assessment.

 

Arts Integration training for educators

  • High-quality professional development training opportunities in arts integration will be offered to PreK-12 teachers will across Berkshire County districts

  • Public school arts educators will have increased opportunities to serve as resources for and partners in the development of academic curricula

  • Shared educational resources will be made available to teachers across all districts through the BRAINworks website and the Berkshire Remote Learning Initiative (BRLI).

 

Career pathways linked to creative skills

  • Career pathways in the arts and culture sector, developed in collaboration with both regional arts organizations and guidance counselors will be published and disseminated

  • A shared, universal template for internships will be developed and disseminated for use by cultural organizations, high schools and higher education institutions in the county

  • An understanding of how creative skills and participation in the arts can develop and maximize workforce readiness will be fostered in the county.

 

Establish MCLA as a backbone organization for the C4 Initiative

  • Establish and sustain a county-wide arts integration and education coordinator position, to:

    • leverage cultural organizations’ assets and offerings with teaching and learning in public schools, and 

    • align skills developed as part of  creative work  with regional career readiness objectives.

 

The Team

The initiative is led by MCLA professor Lisa Donovan and project coordinator Leslie Appleget.

  • To achieve the goals and outcomes listed above, the initiative will work with representatives from Berkshire County cultural organizations, programs dedicated to creative youth development in and out of school time, educators and school administrators participating in BRAINworks and members of the arts educators’ Professional Learning Network.

  • Funding is provided by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation through the Barr Foundation’s Creative Commonwealth Initiative, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Collective Impact Program.

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The Blueprint

The Berkshire County Blueprint for Arts Integration and Education is a vision for what every young person in Berkshire County should have access to in arts learning given our region’s rich cultural assets. Many areas of the Blueprint have been activated throughout the county.

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Leveraging Change

The Berkshire County Blueprint for Arts Integration and Education builds on the work of  the Leveraging Change research from 2015 that identified several barriers to arts education access in Berkshire County and piloted an initiative to build a collective impact model in the region.

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Funding for this initiative is provided by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation through the Barr Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information, contact Leslie Appleget.