BRAINY is a program of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art with assistance from the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and the Department of Art and Art History.
BRAINY was conceived to provide arts opportunities for students from Title 1 schools in northern Colorado. Since its inception in fall 2009, more than 4,500 students from Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor elementary schools have participated in this collaborative, educational program.
BRAINY is meant to:
- Introduce students to the arts
- Demonstrate the role the arts play in our community and culture
- Demonstrate to students that the arts can be part of leisure and/or academic pursuits (with connections to other academic subjects)
- Bring students to a university campus.
BRAINY intends to support and implement the findings of critical links and state standards in art, music, theater and dance, as well as, standards from all other disciplines. Follow-up in encouraged in the classroom, inspiring arts integration into other academic areas.
In a typical BRAINY session, the kids go through four sessions. The morning sessions focus on visual arts and music, the kids are then served lunch, and they return in the afternoon for lessons in dance and theater. Each session focuses on an appropriate age-level curriculum centered on an integrated theme derived from current museum exhibitions. The interactive activities are designed to complement model content standards in art, music, dance, theatre, social studies, geography and math and to address multiple modes of learning.
Through BRAINY, students get hands on experience in all the aspects of art, but their teachers also learn from the program as well.
"I am writing to thank you for providing the opportunity for the fourth grade students at Truscott Elementary to participate in Project Brainy. When our classes returned, our teachers immediately came to me to tell me that this was the best field trip they had ever experienced. They were especially pleased with the organization of the day and the ability of the presenters to adapt their content to the interest and skills of fourth grade students.
The majority of students at Truscott do not have the opportunity to experience art, music, theater and dance beyond their instruction at school. Currently, almost 70% of students at Truscott qualify for free and reduced meals, with over 50% of students qualifying for free meals and living in true poverty. This field trip not only allowed them to expand their knowledge and experience with the arts, it gave them a chance to visit Colorado State University and get a glimpse of what higher education can be. Thank you so much for this phenomenal educational experience!" ~ Wendy Fothergill, principal Truscott Elementary
The art teacher from Beattie Elementary wrote:
"Thanks so much for including Beattie in this wonderful opportunity. My students were blown away. I heard so many students say that this was the BEST field trip every! The schedule was just perfect.Overall the whole experience was so valuable! The students are jazzed about the arts and CSU. They really feel a connection and a new found comfort level for the arts." ~ Kimberly Noel, art teacher Beattie Elementary
Selected student comments include:
"Thank you for lunch and the sketchbooks and thank you for teaching us about mezzo piano, mezzo forte, theater, ballet, and acting. Thank you for taking us to the museum. My favorite thing was dancing. But the whole thing was fun!" ~ Sandra
"Thank you for letting us come to CSU. We enjoyed the theater, art museum, dance, and music. Thank you art museum for the sketchbooks. The lunch was good. The best thing was the theater because Mathew, Jacob, Alex, and me were farmers and we got to wear masks." ~ Shelby
"Thank you School of the Arts! I had so much fun and now want to go to CSU. You guys are awesome. Future CSU student."~ Izzy
A review of feedback gathered from students, teachers, chaperones, and school administrators indicate three overarching themes about the BRAINY program, indicating that the program is:
- well organized and age appropriate
- sessions are hands-on and experiential, addressing multiple modes of learning
- students are actively involved in their learning