NEW ORLEANS – Today, March 29, 2018, the City of New Orleans Information Technology and Innovation (ITI) Digital Equity Challenge Winner, Arts Council of New Orleans (ACNO), in partnership with the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) Commission, wrapped its Introduction to Visual Art and Digital Media Training Pilot. The pilot is part of the ACNO’s Creative Digital Equity Initiative that was created in response to the organization’s Digital Equity Challenge win.
Acting Chief Information Officer Kimberly LaGrue said, "We are proud to see the work of the Arts Council of New Orleans to educate our young people on digital media skills. Because of their partnership with the City’s Digital Equity Challenge, youth across New Orleans are getting the chance to expand their skill set and will have access to more opportunitiesin the digital economy."
Held at NORD’s Lyons Center, the pilot engaged youth on basic art and technology concepts, design-thinking, and digital media skills.
Fourteen youth participated in the Creative Digital Equity Initiative, the introductory 12-week program using collaborative art-making and community engagement as entry points to digital literacy and professional skill-building, including YouthForce NOLA interns and other youth-focused arts education program participants. Instructors included professional artists with extensive experience in youth arts educationand digital media. Throughout the program, participants assisted in designing a traveling public art installation and participated in community events to gather stories to inform the artistic design.
ACNO Executive Director Heidi Schmalbach said, "This initiative acknowledges arts as the foundation of the knowledge economy. We are proud to bring together a talented group of young people, artists, and educators who are engaging the community through art while learning skills that shape the future of our economy and creative sectors."
NORD has provided program participants with meeting spaces, computer labs and studio spaces.
NORD Director Vic Richard said, "We are excited to partner with the Arts Council of New Orleans as we continue to offer diverse programs to our citizens."
Launched March 2017, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities and Citymart, the City’s Digital Equity Challenge tasked organizations with developing innovativeand creative solutions to increase the use of technology by low-income residents, members of historically disadvantaged racial or ethnic minorities, women, residents living with a physical or mental disabilities, children, and elderly. The Digital Equity Challenge is part of the City’s larger EquityNewOrleans Strategy to address inequities due to economic, racial or geographic disparities that prevent New Orleans from growing to its full capacity. Ultimately, the strategy will be used to inform City decision-making and the development of future policies, program and services, leading to a more equitable government for the benefit of all New Orleanians.