PAA Partners with MIT Media Lab

PAA MIT Scratch

Click the photo to visit the online studio of Scratch dance animations created by students from PAA’s RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp.


PAA is pleased to share that we have partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab as part of their work on Coding for All: Interest-Driven Trajectories to Computational Fluency, a National Science Foundation funded initiative that is a collaboration led by the Scratch Team at the MIT Media Lab, the DML Research Hub at University of California Irvine, and Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

The Scratch Team has engaged PAA to assist as a content expert in using hip-hop in arts education experiences that also support students’ development in computational fluency. The project is exploring how students can develop computational fluency by using Scratch. Scratch is a visual programming language and online community which enables young people to create and share their own interactive media such as animations, games, and stories. PAA’s work with the Scratch Team has included developing plans on how to facilitate the design and coding of hip-hop dance animations in Scratch.

PAA Executive Director Santina Protopapa  helped implement this work with the Scratch Team by co-facilitating a workshop with students at the Junipero Serra Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library in December. During President’s Day weekend last month, students from PAA’s annual RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp also participated in a weekend-long workshop that enabled them to design Scratch animations using their own dance routines.  Students also worked with legendary hip-hop dancer Popmaster Fabel to learn additional dance movements and vocabulary to include in their animations. Students were excited to have Popmaster Fabel code his own dance animation during the weekend’s activities. See the animations the students created by clicking here.

Students from PAA's RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp busy coding their dance animations during President's Day weekend.

Students from PAA’s RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp busy coding their dance animations during President’s Day weekend.

In June, Protopapa will join members of the Scratch Team and others involved in the project in a presentation at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Los Angeles, California.  The presentation will share the work of this project and will engage participants in a sample dance and coding activity. The team plans to use the work of the hip-hop and Scratch design experience to generate discussion on ways to develop and support interest-based pathways into computational fluency for youth from groups under-represented in computing.

1 Comment

Filed under PAA News

News from our Artist-Educators

Why Arts Integration Matters

Progressive Arts Alliance serves over 1,300 students each week with arts-integration programs in Cleveland’s PreK-8 STEM Schools. PAA Artist-Educator Dina Hoeynck discusses how students learn how to embrace the interconnectedness of disparate subjects and more while collaborating. Discover how this work develops students’ 21st century skills by clicking below. Click Here to Read More
Scratching the Surface
PAA is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab

Last year, PAA formed a partnership with the Lifelong Kindergarten Research Group at the MIT Media Lab. Primarily our work has been collaborating in Scratch, a visual programming language for kids. This month our team of artist-educators dug more into Scratch to discover how to use the program in our residencies. Artist-Educator Jen Craun discusses a recent training program and the possibilities of Scratch. Click Here to Read More

Fall Semester Project:
Building a Wetu
Residency Connects with Native American Curriculum
PAA Artist-Educator Marcus Brathwaite discusses his design process for a 1st grade project at Orchard STEM School. He explores how the design process that was implemented failed during the first day of the program and how he iterated the implementation to yield the successful, desired result. Click Here to Read More

Leave a Comment

Filed under In-School Programs, PAA News

Kicking off 2nd Semester

design challenge

During a recent professional development session led by PAA, educators from Mound STEM School participated in a design challenge that fosters team building skills.

This month we’re kicking off second semester in our partner schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School’s PreK-8 STEM Network with a series of planning meetings and professional development sessions with our partner classroom teachers.  Among the work we are engaging in during this process is a rigorous evaluation of our residencies from the first semester.  Each faculty team at our partner schools has been working with PAA to use the Buck Institute for Education‘s eight essential elements of project-based learning to critique our work. This school year, we’re making sure each and every one of our residency experiences in our partner schools is crafted to nurture students’ voice and choice as they work in the classroom labs our artist-educators create. We’re excited that the collaborative work of our partner teachers and artist-educators puts equal weight on content standards in both the arts and  STEM subjects.  To learn more about the experience in our partner classrooms, click here.


Soldering irons are among the tools our students, artist-educators, and classroom teachers will be using during residency projects this semester. Recent professional development sessions allowed our partner classroom teachers to learn about the proper way to use a soldering iron.

Leave a Comment

Filed under In-School Programs, Profesional Development

Semester finale at our partner schools

PAA at Gibbons

1st graders from Hannah Gibbons STEM School share the work they completed with PAA during a presentation at the Great Lakes Science Center.

Our residencies in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Pk-8 STEM Schools culminated this week with an exhibition of students’ work at the Great Lakes Science Center. This semester, students used such art forms as sculpture, dance, mixed media, video production, animation, and digital photography to deepen their understanding in a wide variety of STEM content areas. Read more about the arts-integration work of our artist-educators in CMSD’s STEM Schools by visiting their blog here.


Watch the video below to see this semester’s work in action:

Leave a Comment

Filed under In-School Programs, PAA News

PAA Visits MIT Media Lab


Eric Schilling of the MIT Media Lab, Santina Protopapa, and Connor Musarra celebrating PAA’s work with the Media Lab’s Scratch team.


Connor Musarra and Natalie Rusk of the MIT Media Lab working on a beta test of hip-hop dance in Scratch.


One of the beta test animations created during PAA’s work at MIT.

Last month, PAA Executive Director Santina Protopapa visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab to explore how PAA can help the Scratch Team incorporate hip-hop and hip-hop dance into the Scratch programming language. Scratch is a free programming language and online community that enables kids to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Protopapa was joined by PAA artist and former student Connor Musarra. Together with members of the Scratch team, Protopapa and Musarra helped design and program a series of beta tests that resulted in animations of hip-hop dance movements in Scratch.  Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting partnership between PAA and MIT.

Leave a Comment

Filed under PAA News

Fun with Families

IMG_9687Last night at Michael R. White STEM School, we hosted STEM Family Fun Night and engaged students and their families in a variety of hands-on activities that brought visual art together with geometry.  Among the activities that were offered were painting with a pendulum or harmonograph, screen printing, creating a button using a spirograph, and helping assemble a large-scale art installation by creating a platonic solid.  To learn more about our art installation, click here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Family Programs, In-School Programs

Preparing Teachers for Arts Integration

photo 2Yesterday at Mound STEM School, we worked with faculty members to assist them in preparing for our arts-integration residencies that will begin at the end of this month.  As part of our professional development offerings, we created a lab for each grade’s faculty to engage in hands-on arts activities.  These activities were designed to enable the teachers to be better prepared as they work side-by-side with our artist-educators.  Among the activities that the teachers participated in were green screen photography, clay and ceramics work, soldering circuits, building sculptures, creating mixed media animals, and stop motion animation.  We’re pleased that the administration at Mound made dedicated professional development time available for our artists and parters teachers to use as an important part of our planning process for this semester’s activities.  To keep up with the latest developments on the planning and implementation of our residency activities, be sure to visit our artist-educators’ blog here.

photo 1

Leave a Comment

Filed under In-School Programs, Profesional Development

Kicking off the School Year

image6We kicked off the school year last week at our partner schools Michael R. White STEM and Mound STEM schools in Cleveland with a variety of hands-on activities to welcome the new academic year.  Students at both schools got to try their hand at screen printing and we were pleased to offer spin art and Makey Makey activities at Mound.  Stay tuned for news from each school once our arts-integration residencies begin.

.image image2 image5

Leave a Comment

Filed under In-School Programs

Celebrating 13 years of Hip-Hop Camp

This year marked the 13th year of our annual RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp.  The video above shares insights into the camp experience from this year’s instructors: DJ Rob Swift, MC Atlas’, B-Boy Tony Fresh, and Gloe.

Special thanks to the Community Engagement and Education department at PlayhouseSquare for continuing to partner with us and providing space at the Idea Center to host the camp.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Hip-Hop, Summer Camps

Having Fun with Stop-Motion Animation

We’re pleased to continue our partnership with the Cuyahoga County Library system this summer.  As part of our partnership we are facilitating week-long Media Arts Camps in which students are exploring various ways to be creative through different forms of media, including stop-motion animation.  To see some of the stop-motion videos that are being created, like the one above, click here.

Our Media Arts Camps are taking place at the following branches of the Cuyahoga County Library system this summer: Middleburg Hts., Fairview, Independence, and Brook Park.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Summer Camps