From unanticipated opportunities and leveraged resources to increased exposure and access to the arts, Studio to School project teams described the players, labors, challenges and fruits of their partnerships and collaborations.

PARTNERS & COLLABORATORS: the many players

Project teams noted many players with whom they’ve collaborated or developed partnerships in order to move their projects forward. Teams described the richness that has come from working with local artists, community musicians and other community based arts groups and organizations. School day teachers and community members were also included as important partners. And, last but certainly not least, teams explained how critical it has been to collaborate with each other and with their students!


Several themes surfaced across posts as project teams reflected on what’s important for successful partnerships and collaborations. Themes included:

  • Clear and open communication with all of the key players
  • Inviting and bringing all of the key players to the table


“We have learned that to help with a paradigm shift in the value of arts education, we needed to bring all parties to the table.” – Sisters

  • Sharing common goals and dreams for a mutually beneficial partnership
  • Getting a handle on the right roles and responsibilities

“The event was fruitful when each partner was asked to do what they do best and no one was asked to carry the whole load.” – Siletz Lincoln Schools

  • Having a strong leader or leadership team to coordinate and keep things moving forward
  • Intentional collaboration between teachers and artists

“For arts integration to be successful, a strong partnership between the artist and teacher is essential, if not foundational to this work.” – Lane Arts Oaklea

  • Building strong relationships through trust and respect
  • Staying flexible, nimble and open to change

“What I have learned about this specific experience is this; make the necessary changes to be successful.” – Ashland

  • Tapping into the local arts scene and the talents of local artists


While collaboration can bring many benefits, it is not without some challenges. Project teams noted challenges with:

  • Consistent and timely communication, particularly with so many players involved, and with so many competing priorities
  • Time and the reality of not having enough hours in the day to spend intentional time with project partners and other key players
  • Navigating and melding the often differing organizational and school cultures
  • Finding enough artists and other people resources within the local community, particularly in some rural communities
  • Leadership changes and staff turnover, often unexpected

 The fruits of COLLABORATION

Despite the challenges that come with building strong collaborations and partnerships, there is a sense among the project teams that the fruit of these labors far outweigh the difficulties! Examples include:

  • Increased access and exposure for students to many arts disciplines in many different settings

“Our advice to other Studio to School sites is to partner with as many artists as possible from an array of disciplines and backgrounds; the response we have received from doing so has made a huge cultural shift in the school.” – Hollywood Open Meadow

  • Unanticipated opportunities for students to dive deeper into a particular art form

From a simple idea to create cigar box guitars with his 5th grade class,a teacher at Sunset Middle School in Lincoln City was the catalyst behind a deeper dive into the history and music behind these instruments. This opportunity will culminate in an on stage performance with a professional musician at the Cigar Box Guitar Festival in Eugene in June! – CAM Sunset

  • Leveraged resources from additional funding for arts programming, to increased volunteer hours, and donations of instruments

“In essence, the $70,000 we received from OCF leveraged an additional $20,000 in community support this year alone.” – AIEG Hood River

And finally, teams are very clearly optimistic about the future of their partnerships and collaborations.

“I think the partners have shown a willingness to communicate and cooperate in the mutually-held  goal of providing theater experiences for our kids and for the community. There is certainly a “can-do” attitude present.”

Three Rivers IRVAC