Expanding Access to Arts Education

Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 2:00 EST / 11:00 PST

  • Lena Carstens, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs – Cultural Experience Project
  • Madeleine Steczynski, ARTWorks for Kids coalition member and founder of ZUMIX

Session 1 of the 10-part 2014 Web Conference Series

A recording of this presentation is available here.

Web conferences are free to the staff and board of GIA member organizations. The fee for nonmembers is $35. If you have already registered for another web conference in the 2014 series, please click the Register now! button and login, then click Agenda.


This session will feature two models that expand access to arts education—Cultural Experience Project (a program of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs) and ARTWorks for Kids (a program of Hunt Alternatives). The speakers will provide insight on how these models can be adapted in other communities, the successes and challenges of providing services across a broad scale, and the lessons learned over a decade of working collaboratively with local partners.

Celebrating the 10th School Year, the Cultural Experience Project was created to afford every Atlanta Public Schools student from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to experience the city’s premier art and cultural venues, at no cost to the student or the school.

ARTWorks for Kids helped build a coalition of 30 youth arts organizations in the metropolitan Boston area that worked for several years to organize collaborative fundraising events (raising $8 million in additional private donations) and advocate for increased public funding for youth arts programs across the state. As a result of the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative, the vast majority of Pre-K to Grade 8 students now receive arts instruction each week, and the number of high school students receiving arts instruction has doubled.

Presenter Bios:
Lena Carstens Lena Carstens joined the City of Atlanta in 2011 and serves as the program manager of arts and education services for the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Her programs include Cultural Experience Project, a public-private collaboration that sent 75% of Atlanta Public School students on a cultural field trip last school year at no cost to schools or students; and Contracts for Arts Services, the City of Atlanta grants program that invests $1.25 million a year in arts projects through traditional grants and matching crowdfunding support with power2give.org/Atlanta. Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Lena’s career spanned from stage management on Broadway to managing director at Dad’s Garage Theatre where she led the organization through five years of surpluses during the recession. Lena holds an MBA and an MA in Arts Administration from SMU in Dallas, TX and a BFA in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, MO.
Madeleine Steczynski Madeleine Steczynski is the founder and executive director of ZUMIX, an organization dedicated to building community in East Boston through music and the arts. Madeleine was a leader and founding member of the ARTWorks for Kids coalition; was one of the founding members of Cultural Connections, part of a Sustainable Community initiative funded by The PEW Charitable Trust; and served as an artistic fellow for The Boston Foundation’s Arts and Audiences Initiative. In 2006 ZUMIX was chosen as a Social Innovator for the Social Innovation Forum at MIT. In 2007 Madeleine was chosen to participate in the Salzburg Global Seminar's Cultural Institutions Without Borders seminar in Austria, received the Canyon Ranch Be the Change Award at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, and was an advisor for the Music National Service Initiative in Washington, DC. In 2011 Madeleine accepted the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of ZUMIX. Madeleine attended Boston College, the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, and the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University.