Vision and Mission

Our vision is to create a dynamic environment where museums provide authentic, meaningful and engaging experiences to immigrant communities and where learning, enjoyment and civic engagement support the development of the individual’s voice.

Our mission is to serve as a national model and catalyst for the self-empowerment of immigrant English language learners and their families through the development of collaborations amongst museums, institutions of formal education and literacy organizations. To support systemic change that transforms museums into powerful learning spaces for immigrants and their families. To be a vehicle to strengthen the immigrant’s voice by encouraging the development of their academic, social, cultural and civic capital.


Principle One:
Every person has the right to equal access to aesthetic encounters with art and to museums in a meaningful and independent way and institutions have a responsibility to engage all community members. The program empowers participants to embrace art and museums as resources for learning, enjoyment and global understanding.

Principle Two:
There is inherent value to all points of view and backgrounds. Participants’ personal stories as immigrants are at the core of the program and are used as the springboard for acquiring new knowledge. Participants are encouraged to access prior knowledge and experiences and see them as an asset and not a deficit.

Principle Three:
Teaching and learning should be a dialogue based on shared authority. Every participant in CALTA21 (students, teachers and museum educators) has an expertise and has an opportunity to share it with their fellow participants and learn from each other’s knowledge.

Principle Four:
Art and culture are powerful catalysts for developing literacy skills. Art addresses complex issues. Adult participants access higher order thinking skills using their senses (perception), emotions and cognition (often thinking in their native language) to look at and find meaning in art. They collectively explore complex ideas and think in abstract, speculate and infer while they build lower order thinking skills in their acquired language, such as vocabulary and sentence construction.

Principle Five:
Situated and contextualized learning fosters transformative experiences. Participants are prepared to become teachers and facilitators in a public environment, such as a museum. Visual literacy and art anchor the learning experience and the practice of literacy and critical thinking skills is set in a real life environment.

Principle Six:
Museums must embrace their new expanded roles – inclusion, access to knowledge, civic engagement and democratic practice. CALTA21 encourages the strengthening of the immigrant voice and full civic participation. Participants shape their cultural identities while they recover their personal immigrant narratives and engage in relevant art discussions in a space of public value. CALTA21 provides museums with an opportunity to include an underrepresented audience in a meaningful and sustainable way.