History & Goals

American Art at the Core of Learning was created to demonstrate the relevance of museums and works of American art for K-12 education. Launched by the Terra Foundation for American Art in 2012 the project included:

  • A learning community of museum educators from across Chicago that gathered regularly between 2012 and 2014 for professional development about the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (CCSS-ELA). The community learned together and shared their best practices in engaging students with American art in their collections. Members collaborated with Chicago-area teachers and literacy specialists to create lessons and teaching tools, and wrote informational texts for students about art in their institutions’ collections. Content available on this website grew out of this community.
  • Grants to help participating organizations develop new CCSS-aligned museum programs and materials for teachers and students or to modify existing programs and materials in order to strengthen CCSS connections.

Project Objectives

  1. Leadership Team: A cadre of museum educators and teachers better equipped to address the CCSS-ELA through American art and to train teachers.
  2. Common language and focus: cultural organizations more attuned to Chicago Public Schools needs and priorities, able to speak the language of the schools, and explain the relevance of their programs.
  3. More CCSS-ELA and American art-focused teaching resources and programs available to schools across the region.

Learning Community Objectives

  • To deepen understanding of the reading, writing, and speaking and listening areas of the CCSS-ELA
  • To build museum educators’ capacity in writing about American art for student readers
  • To create CCSS-ELA-aligned teaching resources and materials about works of American art
  • To share progress with and support the development of CCSS-aligned museum programs and materials that focus on American art