Link to YouTube Link to Live Stream Link to Instagram Link to Pinterest Link to Twitter Link to Facebook


TUSD's Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) program reels in $7,500 at Art Tank competition

Posted February 7, 2014

Tucson Unified School District's Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) program won first runner-up and $7,500 in an Arizona Commission of the Arts competition on Feb. 3.

The prize money will help fund "OMA Vision," a YouTube channel that will be used to share videos of innovative arts integration lessons and tips for teachers.

About 185 organizations applied for grants in the "Arizona Art Tank: Not Business as Usual, Business Unusual" competition. Forty were chosen to present six-minute proposals at regional events modeled after the television show "Shark Tank." On the show, contestants pitch their business ideas to a panel in hopes of securing financial backing.

TUSD was the only school district in the state to make it past the initial cut and to present in the competition, which was held at El Casino Ballroom. The district's presentation was a take-off on "Mission: Impossible," complete with soundtrack, trench coats and high drama featuring TUSD's pitch team, Thom Lewis, Amanda Dudek and Trista Tamura.

Joan Ashcraft, director of fine and performing Art, said the mission of OMA Vision is to get the idea of arts integration out to the district, the community and the state.

"We will create our own videos with our own folks, our own teachers, who have done innovative, creative projects with kids. To see the demonstrations with children is very powerful."

The Tucson Museum of Art won first place in the competition and $10,000. The winners were chosen by a judging panel and a packed audience of artists, parents, teachers, nonprofit groups and community/business members and by a judging panel.

The judging panel included: Steve Farley, Tucson Artists and Arizona State Senator, District 9, Ethan Orr, Arizona State Representative, District 9, Tim Bee, Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Chelsey Killebrew, Communications Director, South Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, Joyce Jackson, Vice President of Instruction, Estrella Mountain Community college in Tubac and Nadia Hagen, Artistic Director, All Souls Procession.