ACE – which stands for Arts, Civics, and Education – strives to build partnerships, facilitate training, and ultimately impact arts and civic education programs to fit a more diverse population of students, create and utilize expression-based curriculum, and integrate the arts into civics education.
The vision of ACE is to build a stronger community where all stakeholders feel empowered to express themselves, artistically and otherwise, in an effort to positively impact the greater Little Rock area.
ACE is hosting a kick-off event on Thursday, April 18 at the Innovation Hub in North Little Rock. The event is in partnership with Think Big Little Rock, Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Little Rock.
Barnes said the event gives ACE the opportunity to share more information about its vision and allows the organization to draw ideas for future events from potential network members.
“The kick-off event is to get everyone in the room to explain some of the background, explain some of the mission goals, but also to get some input from people in the community on what opportunities there are in Little Rock to grow and improve,” Barnes said.
Barnes notes that ACE is seeking to improve or inform existing programs, not create new ones. ACE is striving to create partnerships between existing organizations and artists, educators, and activists.
The idea for ACE grew out of Barnes’ Capstone project work with Think Big Little Rock.
“I wanted to do something in arts and education but also had a social justice component,” Barnes said. “After reaching out to a couple of organizations that have youth arts programming, I realized that many of them desire to implement more expression-based and inclusive curriculum, but did not have a background or experience in it. So, I decided to make my Capstone a networking opportunity to connect educators, program managers, and community members that have experience with culturally-inclusive arts and civics education in an effort to share ideas and expand programs.”