Mary Ellen Cunningham Elementary School

Village of the Arts

Mindpop logo Cunningham is proud to host the MINDPOP Village of the Arts on our campus.  This partnership provides a unique benefit to the Austin community and to our student body.

Exerpt from the City of Austin Economic Development Department webpage about the Village of the Arts:


In a nutshell, please explain what the Village of the Arts program is and how it came to fruition.

The idea for the Village of the Arts was born out of the conversations that we are having daily with teachers, campus and district leaders, arts partners and the community. The City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division was having a simultaneous conversation about the lack of affordable creative space. We both knew that affordable office and rehearsal space for artists is in short supply, and also that certain AISD campuses have spaces that are currently underutilized, and we decided to try an innovative pilot solution.

The Village of the Arts was one of those eureka moments where an idea arose that addressed several of those issues at once. Through Village of the Arts, students get more access to artists during their school day, artists gain access to affordable workspace, and communities benefit from living in an arts-rich environment. It is truly an example of collective impact when community needs are addressed by like-minded partners and shared resources.

What is the primary goal of the program?

The goals of the Village of the Arts are increased arts opportunities for students and their families, increased quality and depth of partnerships with professional artists, increased community engagement with schools as a community center, and increased access to the arts in the program neighborhoods. .

Cunningham Elementary has been chosen as the first school for the program. What can their students/teachers/parents expect to see this year as the program as implemented?

The artists in residence at the Village are so excited to offer learning opportunities for students not just at Cunningham, but other schools in the Crockett Vertical Team as well. There will field trips to a variety of theatre productions, access to amazing in-school arts programs and a host of new creative learning opportunities that artists will create in partnership with teachers. Additionally, every artist at the Village is committed to being available to teachers for on-the-fly arts-integration opportunities. 

How does this tie in to MINDPOP’s larger goals and mission?

MINDPOP's mission is to expand access to the arts and creative learning for all young people. Our work has shown us, time and again, that to really move the needle for kids, you have to work at all levels of the system. We could not be more thrilled to be a part of a program that provides creative learning opportunities for kids, while also supporting the needs of artists, AISD and the City of Austin!