Art Ed programs

Pro Arts artist residencies provide accessible art instruction, arts integration teacher training and exhibition opportunities for reflection, celebration and recognition of our youth. Our program was created in response to the scarcity of arts resources and instruction, providing continuity and connection to community arts.

Pro Arts’ art education program aims to stimulate and nurture creativity, artistic skills, expression, understanding of meaning and connection to others. We are committed to supporting access, inclusion and the development of creative producers and audiences.

Our art education program consists of in-school and after-school residencies at public schools in Oakland.  Our teaching artists work with school leadership, teachers and site coordinators to ensure that any special needs of students are addressed and that all students are supported to participate fully.



To inspire individual creative expression;

To build teamwork skills through collaboration and joint exploration of various media;

To cultivate a sense of historical and cultural context by comparing student projects to work from other historical periods and cultures;

To develop an aesthetic awareness by evaluating artwork and receiving feedback from peers, the resident artist and professional working artists;

To create supportive relationships between youth and adults through mentorship and the nurturing of artistic talent;

To facilitate connections to other disciplines, community art resources, professional artists and the ‘real world’ by gaining critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills;

To support future success in personal, academic and workplace settings through the development of focus, persistence, envisioning, reflection, empathy, creative problem solving, engagement, self-assessment and revision.



Youth Arts in TKAP (TK) focuses on integrated learning in the earliest grades developing essential social-emotional and cognitive skills while impacting the students’ level of readiness as they matriculate to Kindergarten and beyond. Teaching artists lead rigorous and engaging professional development for OUSD TK teachers in arts integration with an emphasis on math and science. On-site artist residencies facilitate art instruction as a process for deepening student learning and creating collaborative learning environments. Outcomes of the program include creating and sustaining equitable and inspired learning experiences for students and teachers.

Youth Arts in Middle Schools focuses on increasing knowledge and understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the visual arts through engagement in the creative process. Teaching artists encourage self-directed exploration towards the completion of art projects. Concurrent with art making, students engage in discussion of personal work with peers, family, school teachers and the teaching artist, and in written reflection at the conclusion of the project. Through facilitated engagement students learn to appreciate the concept of cultural context through focusing on topics such as color, symbol and subject. At the conclusion of their projects, students’ work is exhibited at the school site. Enrollment is open to all students. Additionally school administrators refer students with behavior and discipline issues. Our residency serves as a key strategy for schools to engage difficult to reach students. Outcomes of the program include recognition of diversity within the visual arts; reflection on the student’s own experience of culture; appreciation of the expression of culture in creative choices; understanding of visual problem-solving; skill development with various materials and techniques; increased confidence in creative choices, problem-solving and ownership of final artwork.



Our Elementary School residencies run annually from October through May. The residencies consists of 12 sessions, each session 1 hour long. There is additional time allotted for teaching artists professional development and for special projects, such as exhibitions and showcases. 

Our Middle School after-school program starts in August and runs through June. There are 3, 13 sessions blocks, 2 days per week (Tuesday – Thursday OR Wednesday – Friday) from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Teaching artists are allotted 16 hours in professional training and special projects development, including off-site trips and visits to creative economy ventures.



Engage annually over 700 elementary and middle school students in visual art theory, practice and process.

Make ART visible: annually, 1,000 artworks are produced on-site as a result of our artist residencies and by participating youth, attending elementary and middle public school in Oakland, demonstrating students’ development of a critical and creative voice.



Evaluation is integral to our art education program design. Ongoing evaluation and feedback takes place for all of our residencies. Pro Arts’ Executive Director and program leader, Natalia Mount, conducts monthly check-ins with resident artists, classroom teachers, and school administrators on student progress and the indent programmatic outcomes. Survey tools are implemented to track data and reach individual performance goals. We also track attendance, exhibitions, new artwork created, and dialogue with principals. Some evaluation measures include skill development – technical, artistic, academic – critical thinking, problem solving, self-motivation, and program participation. Methods include: student written reflections, portfolio reviews, ongoing feedback, program evaluation, student self-assessment, interviews, student letters, and teacher and administrator evaluations and feedback. All feedback is reviewed on annual basis so that it informs the next term of programming and artist residencies’ goals and objectives.