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Sparkle's Art Director, Tanya McCaslin

Art Historian & Lecturer

The Sparkle Art and Culture Lecture Series mission is to educate young students- 5-9th grades- in global art and cultural movements and issues. The 21st century world is a world of common ground and in order to place in context each person’s purpose and strengths, a disciplined study of art and culture is necessary.


There is an overabundance of arts programs that address a variety of needs within the community, however, Sparkle’s art program is unique in that we focus on developing the child’s academic potential in order to prepare them for higher education, hopefully with their goals fined tuned for a career in the arts.


Although my classes are open to all students, my target is young minority girls. As a minority woman, I empathize with their unique pressures-from observing, processing and countering negative media images to competing for scholarships, jobs and respect in a society that has been fed on the said negative images- and have devoted my expertise to combat these societal and political maladies through educating the youth on global art and culture.


Art appreciation and culture classes are touched on in K-12, inner-city classrooms, usually via social studies or general history books. It is general knowledge that art has been reflective of life since pre-historic times; and it follows a continuous line of expression through today. Yet, unfortunately, there are few minority art professionals and educators. Having observed this since childhood, I must underscore this fact as when I visit museums and art openings, attend lectures and read a variety of art publications whether live or virtually, minority presence is still rare in this multi-cultural world. My classes also address these problems through disciplined analysis of societal structure.


Daily, original art and culture lectures, viewing relevant documentaries, specials and series, Internet assignments and research, writing and critiques, and test are the components of my art classes. We also focus on developing public speaking and behavior skills.


In a January 26, 2009 New York Times story, “Arts Leaders Urge Role for Culture in Economic Recovery”, I was encouraged to read that more government leaders, art leaders and professionals are collaborating to make it happen. But I must also add that while we are advocating for more arts funding, we must also recruit and retain minority youth in order to remain vital in the global world.


“The arts define who we are as a people”-

Michelle Obama at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing re-opening, May 18, 2009




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Last updated: 04/5/19.