Since 2012, ARCK has been using art as a vehicle for social impact. We partner with Boston Public Schools to deliver arts integration programming that promotes 21st-century and social-emotional skills such as empathy, self-confidence, problem solving, and global awareness. In ARCK’s core 36-week program, our trained teaching artists work closely with classroom teachers to offer weekly, in-school lessons free of charge through three modules: Leadership, Civic Engagement, and Social Justice.
Our mission is to empower students with high-quality arts education that fosters culture and community while supporting schools’ learning objectives.
How is ARCK empowering K-12 students to reach their greatest potential?
ARCK grew from a 2011-2012 pilot program at Boston’s Josiah Quincy Elementary School (JQES). When founder Sara Mraish Demeter’s son Sebastian started kindergarten, the school did not have a visual arts teacher due to budget cuts. Sara made it an urgent mission to bring visual art instruction back to the school. Months of preparation and planning brought more than 40 local artists to JQES to lead art workshops that celebrated the diverse cultures of JQES students and the world. By late spring, all 840 students in grades K–5 had enjoyed lively visual art lessons. This Diversity Through Art program culminated in a school-wide art exhibition attended by students, families, the volunteer artists, JQES teachers, community members, local elected officials, and BPS Executive Director for the Arts Myran Parker-Brass. Shortly after this success, Sara formalized ARCK as a nonprofit organization and in fall of 2012 began serving students in other Boston schools.
In addition to ARCK’s original program of hands-on visual art taught by ARCK’s highly qualified educators and integrated with intercultural exchanges and literacy, we have developed an innovative STEAM program in collaboration with the MIT D-Lab and the Harvard Arts in Education program. Our pilot STEAM programs at JFK Elementary School in Jamaica Plain and at JQES (as part of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s after-school program) were successful, and we are continuing to build a comprehensive integrated visual art/STEAM curriculum. Including the initial JQES program, ARCK has served 1,300 students at six Boston Public Schools with arts and/or STEAM education.
“It’s not only about the visual art experiences. It’s about opening the dialogue between students and the outside world. Through our investigation of culture and the promotion of acceptance, we will be able to expand on the understanding of respect, the ability to be self-expressive, and the mission to support the development of informed and proactive citizens of the world.” -Sara Mraish Demeter, ARCK Founder