October 2011

In the 21st century economy, the highest wage jobs will be in creative industries that value skills in critical thinking, innovation and imagination. In 2010, the Texas Cultural Trust developed the Arts and Digital Literacy Initiative to create new project-based fine arts curricula that establish the link between traditional arts education and digital media communication. The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has partnered with the Texas Cultural Trust to develop and expand the Arts and Digital Literacy program, an initiative that will modernize fine arts curricula in Texas public schools to better prepare young Texans for this changing work landscape. As part of the joint venture, the Texas Cultural Trust will develop courses in media communications for the traditional fine arts disciplines (visual arts, music, theatre, and dance).

Thomas Waggoner, the former director of Fine Arts Education at the Texas Education Agency, has joined this collaborative effort. Under his direction, the College of Fine Arts will be responsible for developing teacher training courses, workshops, support materials, and course updates for current and upcoming teachers to implement the curriculum and the teacher education curricula across the state. In the summer of 2012, the College of Fine Arts will host a conference of all the major Fine Arts teacher programs in the state including the Arts and Digital Literacy initiative and will offer summer workshops in teacher-training. By the fall of 2013, three innovative Arts and Digital Literacy courses will be offered in high schools across the state of Texas.