About CALTA21

Cultures and Literacies through Art for the 21st Century (CALTA21) is a model initiative funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the National Leadership Grant category. This initiative builds the capacity of museum-community college partnerships to empower adult immigrant English language learners (ELLs) and strengthen their literacy and critical thinking skills through visual literacy, while simultaneously enriching their social and cultural capital.

The project’s target audiences are adult ESOLs seeking better literacy skills, their families, museum professionals and volunteers and faculty from community college literacy programs and CBO staff.  CALTA21 uses art and museums as catalysts for learning. It is based on the premise that visual literacy skills are transferrable to other literacies and that art can be a powerful conduit to finding meaning in text. While looking at art and participating in facilitated discussions, adult ELLs will build new vocabulary, strengthen critical thinking skills, engage in dialogue, articulate interpretations and develop a voice while drawing from their wealth of experiences and background knowledge.

Under the leadership of Patricia Lannes, Project Director and QCC’s two Principal Investigators, Prof. Kitty Bateman and Dr. Margot Edlin, CALTA21 will be implemented with its four partnering museums: El Museo del Barrio, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and the Katonah Museum of Art.

During this grant period (2011-2014), CALTA21’s development and implementation process includes: 1. A continual cycle of testing, revision and redesign of the two project cornerstones: our professional development institute and our curriculum; 2. The creation of a manual to serve as resource guide for museums and community college literacy programs when launching a partnership; 3. The design and implementation of a dissemination plan that focuses on national implementation opportunities, and includes a website where all materials will be available free of charge.  A culminating symposium will gather participants and representatives from potential museum/community college or CBO collaborations to explore the implementation of CALTA21. Measurable outcomes will include improved literacy and increased social/cultural capital for ELL participants; improved knowledge and skills for museum and literacy educators; established museum-community college partnerships regionally and across the nation; and new practices, materials and resources to support the ongoing implementation of CALTA21, all of which will substantially extend the benefit of NLG investment and increase museum access and participation for thousands of America’s newest residents.

The project’s implementation and dissemination plans are supported by CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs, Language and Literacy Programs under Leslee Oppenheim’s leadership, by Visual Understanding in Education, the organization that created and supports VTS © and by the Literacy Assistance Center in NYC.  Aligned with IMLS’s goals of creating models that can be implemented nationally, CALTA21 will develop additional partnerships regionally and nationally, especially in Florida, California, Texas and Illinois. By virtue of the collaborative implementation of CALTA21, these partnerships will open pathways for some of the country’s newest residents to enhance language skills, develop cultural and social capital, facilitate access to higher education, and support workforce development, while simultaneously helping each institution expand its reach and maintain its relevance in increasingly diverse communities.

For more information on the project or on becoming a CALTA21 implementation site, please contact: Patricia Lannes, Project Director plannes@qcc.cuny.edu, 516-313-1091 or Professor Kitty Bateman, Principal Investigator: kbateman@qcc.cuny.edu, 917-969-8819