Are you for innovative contemporary art curricula?

Explore these teaching materials developed by members of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Teacher Institute to use as inspiration and application back in your classroom.

The Teacher Institute is the museum’s most immersive professional development program where exceptional K–12 teachers come together for one year to explore what it means to critically engage students with the art and ideas of our time.

Using the MCA, living artists, and the works of art in the MCA’s galleries as creative springboards, teachers developed new, contemporary art–based projects. Each teacher then produced a shareable lesson plan and narrative reflection about the process. This website is a record of their individual voices.

When the MCA’s 2019-20 Teacher Institute began with a week-long residency in August, the enrolled teachers planned to experiment ambitiously. They met artists, built community, and discussed contemporary art. For the forthcoming year, we challenged them to rethink their teaching practice as an art-making practice, reimagining their students as collaborators.

The 2019-20 school year was marked by tremendous challenges for teachers and students. In the fall, the Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union Local 73 went on an historic 14-day strike. Their bravery and resolve won important changes to Chicago Public School contracts. Halfway through the spring semester, schools closed for the remainder of the year to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Throughout this period, we were humbled to discover that the resilience of teachers prevailed. They walked out for what they believed in, transformed their living rooms into remote classrooms, and, all the while, continued to center the agency of young people in their curriculum. Read their letters to future educators and glimpse their learnings, imagination, and heart.

° High School

Question 26


Learn in the Teacher Institute.

Every year, the MCA welcomes a cohort of passionate, creative teachers who wish to shake up their practice and make an impact in the lives of their students and school community. Teachers develop contemporary-art based projects during the Summer Residency which they implement in their classrooms during the Fall semester, and reflect upon through writing and the production of shareable resources in the Winter and Spring.

MCA

Lydia Ross
Former MCA Manager of School and Teacher Programs


Lydia Ross is the Director of Public Art at the City of Chicago's Department of…

MCA

Jeremy Kreusch
MCA Manager of School Programs


Jeremy Kreusch is the Manager of School Programs at the Museum of Contemporary…

Lead Artist

Rachel Harper, Ph.D.
Curriculum Specialist


Rachel Harper is an artist whose primary medium is curriculum. She teaches…

Lead Artist

Nick Hostert
Lead Facilitator


Nick Hostert is an artist and national board certified art educator in the…

Editor

Annie Heckman


Annie Heckman is an artist, educator, and writer whose studio work explores…

Karen Malhiot
Transforming History into Our Stories

2014—2015

John C Coonley Elementary School
Karen Malhiot began her teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools in the…

Katie Preston
Maps as Self-Portraits: Self + Story

2014—2015

Passages Charter School
Asian Human Services—Passages Charter School

Wisdom Baty
ART LIKE ME!

2014—2015

Village Leadership Academy
Village Leadership Academy Wisdom Baty is a Chicago-based artist, activist and…

Mauricio Pineda
Art as an Agent of Community Healing

2014—2015

Reilly Elementary
Mauricio Pineda, originally from Ecuador, is an educator with Chicago Public…

Gerald R. Gomez
Modern Day Love Letters

2014—2015

Robert Healy Elementary School
Gerald R. Gomez believes that the ability to create is not something that can…

Bridget Alexander
Routine vs. Ritual

2014—2015

Back of the Yards CP
Bridget Morawski Alexander is a graduate of the University of Illinois at…

Denise Prociuk
Success Through Failure

2014—2015

Prosser Career Academy
Denise Prociuk attended DePaul University, receiving a dual degree in Secondary…

Francis Allende
Who the **** are you? I am not who you think I am.

2014—2015

Edwin G. Foreman High School
Francis Allende is a passionate educator and artist with over 15 years of…

Jeanne Walker
Freedom Lounge

2014—2015

John Hancock College Prep
Jeanne Walker has been a Visual Arts Teacher for 16 years. Jeanne is passionate…

Jeanette Thompson
Public Installation

2014—2015

CICS Northtown Academy
Jeanette Thompson has been teaching art for over 16 years. As an artist, she…

Joshua N. Hoering
Contemporary Book Publishing

2014—2015

Noble Street College Prep
Joshua N. Hoering has been an arts educator and administrator for over 9 years…

Linda Comminos
Contemporary Identity Portraits—Exposing Yourself

2014—2015

Manley Career Academy
Linda Comminos is a Chicago Public School Teacher, teaching since 1992. She…

Lindsey Richards
Impressions Activating Impressions

2014—2015

Prosser Career Academy
Lindsey Richards teaches Digital Media and International Baccalaureate Visual…

Valerie Xanos
Meditative Mandalas

2014—2015

Curie Metro High School
Growing up an artist on the Southwest side of Chicago isn’t easy. There isn’t muc…

Alexandra Giannopoulos
Is it Art?

2015–2016

Scammon Elementary School
Alexandra Giannopoulos has been teaching for eight years, and has been a Middle…

Amy Manata
I Am I Am Not

2015–2016

Burley Elementary
Amy Manata has spent 21 years teaching. This is her 19th year teaching…

Bridget Bancroft
Creating Space for Peace

2015–2016

Lionel Hampton Elementary School
Bridget Bancroft is a Chicago-based artist, educator and activist. She believes…

Bridget Doherty Trebing
The Taft Golden Record Project

2015–2016

Taft High School
Bridget Doherty Trebing is a proud CPS Visual Art educator. She has been…

Carrie Seavoy
Media Me and We

2015–2016

Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
Carrie Seavoy is a music teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory…

Colleen Cody
Utopia/Dystopia

2015–2016

Wells Community Academy High School
Colleen started out on the North Shore at Highland Park High School substitute…

Devan Picard
Art and Action

2015–2016

Walter Payton College Prep
Devan Picard teaches Art Survey and Drawing and Painting as part of the Visual…

Jequeline Salinas
Contemporary Questioning

2015–2016

Hedges Fine and Performing Arts School
Jequeline Salinas is the visual arts teacher at Hedges Fine and Performing Arts…

Jonathan M. Schaefer
The S.P.A.C.E. (Students Performing Academically Constructive Exercises)

2015–2016

Sarah E. Goode S.T.E.M. Academy
Jon Schaefer is a career-change teacher, having previously worked for and run…

Joshua N. Hoering 2015–2016
Text-Based Paintings

2015–2016

Maine Township High School District 207
Joshua N. Hoering has been an arts educator for over ten years and is based in…

Kimmy Tolbert Compton
Collectively Transforming Spaces Through Art

2015–2016

Frank W. Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy
Kimmy Tolbert Compton is an elementary visual arts teacher at Gunsaulus…

Kris Derek Hechevarria
Reflections on Privilege + Oppression

2015–2016

Wolcott School
Kris Derek Hechevarria received a Bachelor's degree in Art History and Women’s S…

Mauricio and Emily Pineda
Inside Out Outside In

2015–2016

Reilly Elementary School
Mauricio Pineda has taught art in Chicago Public Schools for 4 years, and in…

Nicole Dudik
Sound Power: Activating Space

2015–2016

Chicago Tech Academy High School
Nicole Dudik is a Chicago-based artist and art educator currently working at…

Rochele Royster
Breathing Through Fiber

2015–2016

John B. Drake Elementary School
Rochele was born in the city of Washington D.C., but was raised in the rural…

Shanna Griffus-Martinez
Media Me and We

2015–2016

Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
Shanna Martinez is currently in her 4th year of teaching in Chicago Public…

Valerie Xanos 2015–2016
Sound + Vision

2015–2016

Curie Metro High School
Growing up an artist on the Southwest side of Chicago isn’t easy. There isn’t muc…

Aaron Arreguin
Recognition and Presence

2016—17

Schurz High School
Aaron Arreguin is a filmmaker, photographer and art educator whose mission is…

Laura Boban & Gabriel Dominguez
Connections & Community

2016—2017

William Jones College Preparatory High School
Laura Boban teaches visual arts at Jones College Prep in Chicago Public…

Andrew Breen
Goode Students Turn Foyer Into Space of Their Own

2016—17

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy
Andrew Breen received his BFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago…

Amy Casteneda
Welcoming the Power of Art

2016—2017

Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary School
Amy Castaneda is an art educator at Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary…

Katreena Dyrek
Recycled Panther Mural

2016—2017

Mary Gage Peterson Elementary School
Katreena Dyrek grew up in a small town, Fox River Grove. She moved to Chicago…

Mary Haddad
Agents of Change

2016–2017

Disney II Magnet School
Mary Haddad has been teaching art in Chicago Public Schools since 1999. She is…

Janeen Hayes
Social Media Distraction

2016—2017

Edward Tilden High School
Janeen Hayes is a visual art teacher and artist who explores photography and…

Devan Picard 2016-17
Communication and Oppression

2016—2017

Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Devan Picard graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2007…

Claire Reynes
Sculpting Trophies for our Special Teachers

2016—2017

Mark Twain Elementary
Claire Reynes is a Chicago-based artist, papermaker, and educator. Her…

Michelle Richardella
This Hall is Ours

2016—2017

Harold L. Richards High School
Michelle Richardella is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and community…

Jessica Rosenbaum
We See Something Different

2016—2017

John Hancock College Preparatory High School
Jessica Rosenbaum is entering her fifth year of teaching in the Chicago Public…

Jequeline Salinas & Lilia Ruiz
Privilege and the Ability to Become a Chameleon

2016–2017

James Hedges Elementary School
Jequeline Salinas Jequeline Salinas is the visual arts teacher at Hedges Fine…

Elizabeth Alba
Small Voices, Big Impact

2017–18

Inter-American Magnet School
I have been teaching 2nd grade at Inter-American Magnet school for seven years.…

Jagoda Borkiewicz
de(Construction)

2017–18

Horace Greeley Elementary School
I was born in Krakow, Poland, and because my parents won a visa lottery to the…

Rita Crocker Obelleiro
Inviting Student-Artists to Define Art in Our Society

2017–18

North Shore Country Day School
Rita Crocker Obelleiro graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a…

Alicia Jean
Be The Change

2017–18

STEM Magnet Academy
Alicia Jean began her teaching career in 2008. She is a proud graduate of…

Lindsay Johnson
What’s Most Important?

2017–18

Roosevelt Middle School
Lindsay Johnson began her teaching career in Chicago Public Schools as an…

Marcia La Porte
Reimaging Space for Belonging and Celebration

2017–18

Proviso East High School
Marcia La Porte is an educating artist who teaches Drawing and Painting and is…

Rayshawn Nowlin
Comfort + Discomfort in Space (Considering Contradictions)

2017–18

Whitney Young High School
Rayshawn Nowlin received his undergrad in history at Valparaiso University and…

Darrell Pulliam
From Parks to Kaepernick: Art for Healing and Change

2017–18

Henderson Academy
Darrell Pulliam is an artist and an instructor for Chicago Public Schools. He…

Ellie Ryan
Socially Engaged Art via Banned Books

2017–18

Northwood Junior High School
Ellie Ryan is currently serving as an English Language Arts and Humanities…

Lisa Pennell
Sharing Visual Stories + Experiences

2017–18

George Westinghouse College Prep
Lisa Pennell is an art educator at George Westinghouse College Prep in Chicago…

Devin Prendergast
I am not who you think I am: An investigation of self

2017–18

Armstrong School of International Studies
Devin Prendergast is an artist and art educator who is passionate about social…

Neida Cruz + Maria Kline
It Takes a Child to Raise a Village

2017–18

Schubert Elementary
Neida Cruz Neida Cruz grew up in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. She…

Grant Hansen
Power and Values (Creators Against All Odds)

2017–18

Gage Park High School
Grant Hansen graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BFA in…

Claire Jackson
Activating Art History in Chicago

2017–18

CICS Northtown Academy
Claire Jackson is an English and Humanities teacher on the northwest side of…

Sean Hamilton + Ashley Stone
Zine Workshop

2017–18

Catalyst Maria High School
Sean Hamilton Originally from Philadelphia, Sean has been working with youth…

Abi Wilberding
Creating Researchers, Writers, and Activists Through Art

2017–18

CICS Northtown Academy
For the past four years, Abi Wilberding has been teaching English and Writing…

Sarah Gynn + Elaine Cox
Collaborating to Strengthen Community

2017–18

Skinner North Classical School
Sarah Glynn Sarah Glynn teaches K-8 visual arts at Skinner North Classical…

Annamaria Cabral
Ephemerality + Installation Art

2018–2019

Ogden International High School
Annamaria Castellucci Cabral is an IB high school visual arts teacher at Ogden…

Scott Glass
Book It!

2018–2019

Glenbrook South High School
Scott Glass has been teaching English and Humanities for more than 20 years,…

Jiwon Chun
Questioning Social Perceptions

2018–2019

King College Prep High School
Jiwon Chun moved from Northern California to attend the School of the Art…

Jake Famera and Jack Mitchell
Empathy Multimedia Project

2018–2019

Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep
With 19 years of teaching experience between the both of them, Jake and Jack…

Lucy McGowan
Our Community/Nuestra Comunidad

2018–2019

Hernandez Middle School
Lucy McGowan is entering her third year of teaching sixth grade English…

Alison Kovacs
You Don't Know My Story

2018–2019

Gray Elementary
Alison Kovacs is a sixth year Visual Arts teacher in Chicago Public Schools.…

Casey Murtaugh
Failure of Exact Translation

2018–2019

Senn High School
Casey Murtaugh is an artist and educator living and working in Chicago. She…

Jenny Gran
Failure of Exact Translation

2018–2019

Senn High School
Jenny Gran graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a…

Jesse Wyss
Failure of Exact Translation

2018–2019

Senn High School
Jesse Wyss is an artist and educator, living and working in Chicago, IL. She…

Michael Ho
(In)visible: A Project on Equity

2018–2019

Willard Elementary
Michael Ho is first and foremost a human being filled with hope, ambition,…

Miriam Dolnick
Failure of Exact Translation

2018–2019

Senn High School
Miriam Dolnick, art teacher, Nicholas Senn High School, is a fourth year CPS…

Anne O'Malley
“Create new, empowering expectations for students.”

2019–2020

Frederick Douglass High School
Anne O’Malley was born on the west side of Chicago in the Austin District into a…

Christine Pace
“We all feel these ways"

2019–2020

Acero Brighton Park
Christine Pace is currently an Art Educator working at Acero Brighton Park with…

Jesus Sanchez
“My students taught me to trust them.”

2019–2020

Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice
Jesus “Azteca” Sanchez is a visual artist and poet that teaches at the high sch…

Jia Zhao
"Lean on creating peace within our own minds first"

2019–2020

Dewey School of Excellence
Jia Zhao studied finance at Beijing International Studies University and worked…

Katie Whitehurst
"a breath of fresh air"

2019–2020

Legal Prep Charter Academy
Katie Whitehurst has been teaching art in some capacity since 2011. In the…

Larissa Nikola-Lisa
“I had to release my expectations"

2019–2020

Chicago Technical Academy High School
Larissa Nikola-Lisa is a Chicago-based teaching-artist who is passionate about…

Laura Gluckman
“How will you make this space your own?”

2019–2020

National Teachers Academy
Laura Gluckman became a teacher in Chicago Public Schools in 2010 after…

Lauren Paz
"Try on each other's ideas."

2019–2020

ACERO Major Hector P. Garcia High School
Lauren Paz is a reading specialist, living the dream as a high school reading…

Megan Stytz Verbic
“My students are truly my teachers.”

2019–2020

Pioneer Path School
Megan Stytz Verbic NEVER saw herself as a teacher, but now finds herself…

Niamh Burke
"More passion in learning"

2019–2020

Sawyer Elementary
Niamh Burke is a passionate Southside educator currently teaching 6th grade…

Nina Williams
“The idea becomes a question with no answer”

2019–2020

Kenwood Academy High School
Nina Williams has been a Chicago Public School teacher for fourteen years, all…

Richard Schreiber
“And that’s when things got a bit weird and wonderful.”

2019–2020

Norman A. Bridge Elementary School
Richard Schreiber had an unlikely path in becoming a PreK-4 Visual Arts…

Sandro Murillo
“Build connections through acts of humanity and love.”

2019–2020

Sherman School of Excellence
Sandro Murillo is a 6th and 7th Grade teacher of English-Language Arts and…