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Teaching Living Cultures (TLC) is a PreK-12 arts education program that immerses students in the music, dance, theater, visual arts, and the moving image of the African Diaspora. TLC’s unique focus strengthens students’ critical thinking skills, academic performance, as well as student confidence and creativity.

In an increasingly globalized world, educational offerings from CCCADI are invaluable to NYC schools where large portions of the population are first and second generation immigrants from various corners of the African Diaspora. The TLC program addresses a crisis of alienation that hampers educational achievement for primarily Black and Latino students, and which reinforces false divisions amongst students of all backgrounds. CCCADI's offerings not only provide insight to particular cultures but are designed to demonstrate many pervasive commonalities of these communities. In this way, TLC not only provides an opportunity for students to see themselves and their cultures reflected in the courses of study, but they are able to posit this understanding in a continuum of world culture and world history.  TLC fills a void in the curriculum where hundreds of thousands of New York City's students should be represented, and where those students can dialogue creatively with one another and the world.

Each year, CCCADI partners with schools throughout the five boroughs to create culturally diverse arts curricula tailored as culturally-responsive learning, and art skills development. Our highly experienced roster of professional teaching artists makes CCCADI one of the expert arts providers to New York City schools for effective learning in African and African Diaspora-based art forms.  We work with public, independent, and homeschool populations to:

  • Develop greater interest in the arts and a greater appreciation of students’ own cultures

  • Build leadership and confidence towards college, careers, and community engagement

  • Empower educators with the innovative, culturally relevant and stimulating teaching curriculum

  • Encourage students to attend cultural events with their parents, guardians, and families

  • Develop future patrons of the arts, especially towards support of arts organizations of color


Workshops and extended residency programs range from individual classroom-based activities to group performances, or gallery exhibition experiences. TLC workshops develop performance, language, visual, and/or digital media skills, contextualizing the students’ classroom experience into a broader history that incorporates vibrant cultures from our diverse global community.  Placing special emphasis on hands-on interaction between students and master artists, workshop activities focus on providing a comprehensive understanding of the cultural arts expressions of a number of different Diaspora communities.

The program curriculum is designed by education department staff, with key logistical input from the assigned teaching artist(s), as well as from the school partner. Curriculum and lesson plans utilize the NYC Blueprint for the Arts’ five strands for teaching and learning, using a standards-based approach to teaching music, dance, visual arts, theater, or the moving image. Evaluations are done by using simple, or complex, combinations of quantifiable, and/or qualitative methodologies including completion of projects, analyzing of information mastery through pre and post surveys, authentic reflections (an in-depth writing assessment tool), writing assessments, and portfolio reviews to measure outcomes and improve upon and strengthen students’ knowledge.

The CCCADI TLC Arts Education Programs are made possible with the generous donations and support of: Con Edison, Ford Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council Member Diana Ayala, New York City Council Member Bill Perkins, New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, and the New York State Council on the Arts.



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