Navigating Our Local Arts Landscape

Cathedral Arts Project launches the digital LEAD artlook® map

If there is one adage that continues to prove itself true, it is that ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ The need to affect systemic change in arts education has led to the invention of an extraordinary new arts resource launched by the local nonprofit organization Cathedral Arts Project (CAP), in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts the Chicago-based arts advocacy organization Ingenuity. The innovative tool is called the Landscape of Education in the Arts in Duval (LEAD) artlook® map. Accessible through CAP’s website or through the direct web address, the interactive map provides a real-time snapshot of arts resources and services available on a school-by-school basis in Duval County. The map and its search engine serve to showcase arts opportunities and show stakeholders where art education needs exist. Jacksonville is the first city in Florida to provide this tool, and one of only eight cities nationally.

“For nearly three decades, CAP has worked to make sure every child has access to an arts-rich education with tremendous progress,” says The Rev. Kimberly L. Hyatt, CAP President and CEO. “Now, with the launch of the LEAD artlook® map, it will be easier than ever for our community—rich in quality arts learning resources—to come together on behalf of our children.” CAP has been providing arts instruction to Duval County’s school-age children since 1993. In 2014, CAP joined Kennedy Center’s initiative to ensure arts access to Any Given Child (AGC), and has since initiated, facilitated, and tracked arts integration and opportunities in our public schools and their communities. The results of these efforts have crystallized the need to broaden arts education and pinpoint locally where arts opportunities are both thriving and lacking. The LEAD artlook® map is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the U.S. Department of Education, and the PNC Foundation, and helps AGC Jacksonville assess the state of the arts and advocate for increased equity and access to high quality arts education for all local public-school students. CAP points out that these goals took on even more significance as a result of the pandemic.

The LEAD artlook® map is the result of AGC Jacksonville’s three-year initiative to gather comprehensive data on the arts in DCPS. In 2019, LEAD sent surveys to all DCPS locations to collect information about arts programming and resources and sent a separate survey to local arts and culture organizations to gather information about their offerings. Ingenuity’s original Chicago map provides a template for how to use data such as this to strengthen teaching, learning, whole-child education and strategies to address equity gaps. Locally, Assessment Technologies Group and the University of North Florida are providing data analysis support to translate the map into an advocacy plan.

CAP has incredible amounts of data on the efficacy of arts education in producing measurable benefits to students. The same year that LEAD launched its data collection, 2019, CAP partnered with University of North Florida professor Dr. Hope E. Wilson to analyze the outcomes for CAP students who participated in in-school arts integrated lessons. Her research evaluated the influence of those classes on students’ attitudes toward learning core subjects and the effects on their academic performance and creative thinking skills. “It is not often that a program evaluation produces results that are as overwhelmingly positive as CAP’s,” says Wilson. “The effect on student attitudes, creative thinking and integration demonstrate the efficacy of the program to provide benefits to schools.” 

Allison Galloway-Gonzalez, Chief Program Officer of CAP and Executive Director of AGC Jacksonville, says this new tool “provides a new perspective on how the arts add up in our education system.” DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene agrees that its use will expand how students, teachers, and parents of ‘Team Duval’ can be served through enhanced arts education in our public schools. “Arts education plays a critical role in the development of children, and we are fortunate that multiple community partners have come together to provide this new resource that will lead to greater access and equity,” says Greene. “This will provide a comprehensive way for parents to navigate arts education opportunities in schools and the community. It also gives educators the ability to engage with art providers and find pathways of bringing arts resources into the classroom.”

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Access the LEAD artlook® map at

Author: Arbus

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