The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCLA Visual and Performing Arts Education Minor (VAPAE)

written by Barbara Drucker (Associate Dean of Academic Affairs & Director of Arts Education of the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA)

In answer to the pressing need for sustained access to arts education in our public schools and the expressed interest of our UCLA Arts students wishing to explore the field of arts education as a possible career trajectory, the School of the Arts and Architecture inaugurated its first school-wide minor, the Visual and Performing Arts Education (VAPAE) minor in May 2010.

This innovative minor addresses an important gap in the education of undergraduates in the School while also providing high quality arts education experiences for K-12 youth and teachers in under-resourced schools and communities in Los Angeles. The minor provides a sequence of courses designed to introduce up to 40 undergraduates to the key issues and methodologies in the field of arts education, in addition to introducing the students to a broad range of careers in the arts, including K-12 teaching, museum education, arts administration, art therapy and arts advocacy.

The new VAPAE minor builds upon the previous UCLA Arts ArtsBridge program, which served as the School’s pilot program in arts education from 1999-2009, dedicated to introducing undergraduate arts majors to the field. The VAPAE minor incorporates the core curricular sequence of ArtsBridge, and deepens it by requiring four additional courses, including two provided by the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. VAPAE students explore core issues in arts education, creativity, and social justice, with coursework that focuses on theory and practice for urban communities.

Through the VAPAE minor, UCLA Arts students have the opportunity to refine their own creative abilities, develop their teaching skills, and share their talent and commitment to the arts with the broader Los Angeles and southern California communities. Faculty will create curriculum targeted to the needs of the VAPAE minor, and guest lecturers will be invited to campus to share their first-hand knowledge and experience as art educators and teaching artists with our students.

The Arts Education Teaching Sequence, an important component of the VAPAE minor, provides selected undergraduate students the opportunity to develop and then implement original arts-based lesson plans under the supervision of an assigned K-12 guiding teacher. The majority of students participating in the VAPAE minor will initially teach an 8-week sequential arts-based curriculum at the UCLA Community School (UCS). UCS, located in mid-town Los Angeles, is an urban school located in an under-resourced community with an almost completely non-native English speaking student population. The school partners UCLA with the Los Angeles Unified School District and community organizations to serve K-12 children in one of central Los Angeles’ most underserved neighborhoods and is a model for how universities can work within current school systems to be a catalyst for change in urban education.

The VAPAE minor requires commitment, knowledge and expertise in the theory and practice of the arts, and accordingly, will attract UCLA Arts students with tremendous talent, dedication and a deep appreciation of the arts and a strong commitment to building and strengthening our community.

Click HERE for the History of Arts Education in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture since 1998 at UCLA

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