From the Field

Early Childhood Visual Literacy in El Paso

November 3, 2014

Congratulations to the El Paso Museum of Art! The Museum was awarded a $149,762 matching grant by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund a three-year $309,171 arts awareness and visual literacy program. The program is a partnership with AVANCE-El Paso, a nonprofit organization that help families break the cycle of poverty through early childhood development and education. The three-year program begins with a pilot group in Spring 2015. Parents and children ages 3 to 5 will visit the museum weekly where they will participate in discussions and activities based on artworks led by Museum and AVANCE staff.  A set of bilingual curricula based on art making, storytelling, books and gallery tours will be developed with the goal to improve family literacy.

According to the El Paso Museum of Art, many children in El Paso are not receiving the early educational opportunities that help them excel in school. This partnership between the Museum and AVANCE-El Paso will focus on early childhood development, school/reading readiness, and art engagement. For parent participants, the focus will be on improved levels of English proficiency, family literacy and art awareness. In addition, the implementation team expects that the results will provide an inclusive and responsive educational resource that can be shared and replicated to meet the growing national need for bi-lingual literacy programs.


Image: A preschooler participates in Museum Looks and Picture Books, a workshop pilot at the El Paso Museum of Art in partnership with AVANCE-El Paso. The workshop for preschoolers featured a hands-on, studio art project and an discussion about portraiture from the exhibition Gaspar Enríquez: Metaphors of El Barrio.