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Opening Minds through the Arts

Inspired by exciting, ongoing research into connections between brain development and music, Tucson's Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA program) is a leader in a national movement to integrate arts education with core curriculum.

OMA uses instrumental music, opera, dance, theater and visual arts to help teach reading, writing, math and science to children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Each fully implimented OMA school has an Arts Integration Specialist and a team of seven artists who work alongside classroom teachers, adapting each lesson to support teaching of core content and knowledge. In addition, children learn to play the recorder, violin, a wind instrument and keyboard. In Tucson, the OMA program employs 26 artists from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera Company, University of Arizona Schools of Music and Dance and other arts organizations to teach 30-minute, twice-weekly classes for 36 weeks of the school year that support core curriculum goals.

Congratulations to TUSD's Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA)

Art Tank AwardCONGRATULATIONS to TUSD’s Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) who, represented by Thom Lewis, Amanda Dudek, and Trista Tamura, won 1st Runner Up Prize ($7500) at the Arizona Commission on the Arts’ Arizona Art Tank: Not Business as Usual, Business Unusual. Our “venture” was evaluated on impact, responsiveness, and visibility through a written grant proposal and a 6-minute creative presentation that was showcased publicly at El Casino Ballroom to a supportive crowd of artists, parents, teachers, non-profit organizations, and community/business members.

TUSD was the only school district in the state of Arizona to be selected to present; all other presentations were from non-profit organizations. First prize was awarded to the Tucson Museum of Art, so we were extremely proud of TUSD’s placement in the entire award process throughout the state.

Adjudicators included

Funding for our venture will assist us in creating OMA-vision, a YouTube channel for sharing videos of innovative arts integration lessons and tips for teachers to creatively engage students. So…stay tuned! Your expertise will be needed!

Special accolades go to our trio of presenters who designed and performed the engaging presentation!

For more information, see our Spotlight story.

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OMA brings the arts to Tucson Unified School District classrooms as a means of ...

  • Teaching core curriculum
  • Improving test scores
  • Fostering cognitive development
  • Igniting love and understanding of the arts
  • Narrowing the gap between less-privileged and more-privileged students
  • Building community
  • Encouraging self-expression
  • Supporting the arts

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