Studio to School

S2S Reflection E-Journal #8

Pulsar at Open School North
Reflection #8: Sustainability

When you think about how you will sustain your project (or its most essential components), what are your greatest strengths or assets? How can you leverage those strengths or assets going forward?

Pulsar, an education program operated by the Hollywood Theatre and Portland Community Media (PCM), has been working for a number of years within Open School North (OSN), and this year our partnership is stronger than ever.  Utilizing the combined resources of the Hollywood Theatre and PCM, we have access to more equipment, a wider range of guest artists and program partners, and more possibilities for inspiration and collaboration.  We’re able to share and distribute the content that OSN students create through PCM’s cable access channels and screenings at the Hollywood Theatre, which not only boosts the students’ confidence but brings greater visibility to the program as well.  We have a number of sustainability strategies.  In order to create program sustainability at OSN, this year we are focusing on the following:
1) Professional development
2) Providing free workshops for the Multimedia Project Facilitator
3) Guest artists

1) Professional development
The key to a sustainable program at OSN is to empower teachers to integrate digital art into their classroom when Pulsar is no longer there.  As part of this year’s program, we will begin offering professional development programs at Portland Community Media for OSN middle and high school instructors.  These professional development opportunities will allow OSN instructors to receive continued support, curriculum ideas, and inspiration for media-integrated projects.

2) Providing free workshops for the Multimedia Project Facilitator
One of our program’s strongest assets is OSN on-site Multimedia Project Facilitator Reina Solunaya.  In addition to having Pulsar professional development instructors on site next year, the teachers at OSN have Reina’s support while in their classrooms.  Reina has worked with OSN students for over a year and has developed a strong rapport with both students and staff.  In order to leverage our own resources to support Reina, we have offered her free registration to PCM workshops, which will help her hone her skills and abilities with regards to OSN’s equipment library.

3) Guest artists
Guest artists are an essential component to Pulsar programs.  The Hollywood Theatre and Portland Community Media collectively have an extensive network of media artists interested in visiting classrooms and participating in artist residencies.  Due to this strong partnership, we are able to provide artists with a beautiful venue to display and discuss their work with the public (at the Hollywood Theatre) and with access to production facilities, professional gear, and workshops to polish their craft (at PCM) in exchange for their involvement in our programs.

When you think about how you will sustain your work (or its most essential components), what are your greatest challenges? How might you work to overcome those challenges?

Teachers and Tech:
One of our greatest challenges at OSN is getting teachers to feel comfortable using equipment on their own.  So far, professional development has helped alleviate some of their fears.  We also hope that by offering free workshops to the Multimedia Project Facilitator, we will see an increase in OSN’s utilization of PCM’s on-site resources.

Updating Technology:
Since there isn’t a dedicated tech person at OSN, keeping iPads and laptops updated has been a challenge.  We are working towards finding a solution to this problem, possibly utilizing the dedicated IT staff member at PCM or a combination of other resources.

On-Site Support:
While we want to provide OSN teacher with the support they need, we also want to ensure that they are able to complete media art projects on their own.  As a result, Reina is the only person supporting OSN teachers.  Pulsar instructors are providing professional development workshops at PCM while coordinating with Reina, meeting with OSN’s principal, and communicating with artists.

Funding for Open AiR:
In order to sustain our six-week artist-in-residence program at OSN, we are looking at developing partnerships with organizations with similar opportunities such as the Right Brain Initiative and Young Audiences.

Supplies for Media Projects:
To keep supply costs down, we recently developed a partnership with Artist and Craftsman Supply, a new art store located across the street from OSN.  The owner of the store agreed to donate supplies for our guest artist-instructed workshops.

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