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Connie Towson Ford Teaching Innovation Lab

The Connie Towson Ford Teaching Innovation Lab (TIL) serves as a launch point for object-based experiences in the CMA galleries. The TIL assists classroom teachers, community-based educators, CMA staff, volunteers, and others interested in using the museum as a tool for teaching and learning.

In an environment where objects on view are closely guarded, materials from the TIL allow participants to partake in hands-on experiences. We also aim to inspire regional educators to consider the possibilities of object-based learning and its ability to encourage students’ capacities to learn. Direct contact with physical objects and resources helps educators better understand and connect with the material they are teaching. The TIL is designed around the concept that physical materials help visitors engage with and better understand the art historical and contextual framework of the artworks in the collection.

Educator access to the TIL requires no membership, no appointment, and no check-out fees. Staff members who work in the TIL will provide guidance, recommendations, information, and preparation of materials for all TIL visitors.

Access to the physical space of the Teaching Lab is 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday to Friday. We are able to offer weekend and evening appointments on demand or with prior appointment.

Upcoming Teacher Workshops
If you are an educator who is interested in getting together with like-minded colleagues in an informal meet-up, the CMA’s Teaching Innovation Lab would be delighted to have your presence for an evening of conversation and collaboration.

Upcoming meet-ups:

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 5:30–7:00 p.m.

Please RSVP to teachinginnovationlab [at] clevelandart.org by February 11, 2020, and provide your name, school/organization, and subject/grade level, and indicate if you are interested in facilitating a roundtable idea-sharing discussion. If you’d simply like to meet other educators and have informal conversations, you’re still very welcome to attend!

*This will be a “purchase-your-own” dinner event.


Summer Professional Development
Summer Teaching Innovation Institute**

WHEN: Tuesday, June 9, to Thursday, June 11, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHO: Educators of all grade levels and content areas who are new to or interested in working with the CMA, using art to engage student learning, amd finding professional inspiration, renewal, and a community of support.

Maximum institute registration is set at 50 participants.

**Participants interested in college credit will also be required to attend two additional meeting times during the school year.

Yearlong Teaching Innovation Fellowship

WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, to Thursday, July 9, 2020, 9:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and a series of cohort-selected dates throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

WHO: Educators of all grade levels and content areas ready to take a yearlong, deep-dive into object-based learning and a related, self-designed action-research project. Each cohort teacher receives a $1,000 stipend upon completion of the fellowship.

Each cohort caps at 10 members.

Now Accepting Applications for 2019–20 Teen Summit
High school teachers are invited to apply to Teen Summit, a field trip program beginning January 15, 2020. This program allows students to learn about professional environments and to develop problem-solving skills by experiencing real-world situations in a safe space that encourages them to experiment, make mistakes, and grow—using a world-class institution as a classroom.

Participating students and teachers are required to come to three sessions at the CMA during the school day. Each day is themed with a particular focus that encourages students to think deeper, collaborate, and try something new. To apply, a teacher representative must fill out a group application. Transportation reimbursements may be available—please inquire! For questions or application information, please contact Arcelia Gandarilla at agandarilla [at] clevelandart.org.

The deadline for applications is January 9, 2020.


TIL to Go—Professional Development Comes to You!
The TIL offers professional development sessions custom-designed for your district, school, or subject area. To book a visit to your faculty meeting or district professional development day, or to find out more, email TeachingInnovationLab [at] clevelandart.org.

Did you know that we have subsidies for some of our programs? Please check here or email TransportationSubsidy [at] clevelandart.org for more information.