Pérez Art Museum Miami Brings Police and Community Together in Critical Dialogue with New Art Detectives Program.
February 17, 2017
This February, Pérez Art Museum Miami, in partnership with the Links Inc. Greater Miami Chapter and Breakthrough Miami, will launch Art Detectives, a new arts education program that promotes critical and timely dialogue between community youth and police. Through this innovative program, PAMM teaching artists, members of The Links, Inc., Greater Miami (FL) Chapter, Miami-Dade County Police, students and Americorps volunteers from Breakthrough Miami, will work together to build relationships using art as a catalyst.
“Through Art Detectives we aim to foster dialogue around one of our country’s ongoing issues – police interactions with young people of color,” said Adrienne Chadwick, PAMM deputy director for education. “By using inquiry-based art instruction, we can create a cross-generational ‘teaching moments’ and work toward building mutual trust and respect.”
The program will unfold in a series of shared art encounters, each involving 50 middle-school students from Breakthrough Miami, which provides enrichment, mentoring and college access services to nearly 1,300 Miami-Dade County students. The sessions, each of which will involve facilitators from The Links and officers from the Miami-Dade County Police Department as well as educators from the PAMM staff, are designed to cultivate observation skills and spark creative thinking and cross-community dialogue.
“When you look at the issues that are polarizing our communities, it’s important to understand the relationships between beliefs and assumptions to recognize the biases that generate perceptions and perspectives on all sides,” Chadwick said.
Participants will begin by exploring new ideas based on a presentation of PAMM exhibition images, then share the experience of hands-on art-making inspired by the art. Field trips to PAMM will include interactive gallery explorations led by a teaching-artist which provide an in-depth focus on specially selected works of contemporary art.
The development of digital learning resources, including further inquiries and lesson plans, will enable participants to continue the dialogue around the art and the topical issues represented.
The goal of the program is to create new channels for community interactions – particularly between youth and law enforcement officers-that provide a foundation for mutual understanding and respect.
“We want to provide our students the opportunity to interact with law enforcement in a non-traditional setting and help both groups humanize a relationship that is currently mired in mythology and misrepresentation,” said Webber Charles, the Breakthrough Miami senior site director. “Working alongside law officers, students can develop authentic relationships with the potential to foster empathy in both directions.”
"Designing the underpinnings of this program was fueled by my passion to improve relations between young people and the police,” said Donna L. Ginn, The Links Inc., Greater Miami Chapter and program designer. It was natural fit for the Links to serve as facilitators given our abiding commitment to serving young people, in particular, and our community overall."
Art Detectives is organized by PAMM, The Links, Inc. Greater Miami (FL) Chapter, Breakthrough Miami, and Miami-Dade County Police. It is supported by a grant from The Children’s Trust Innovation Fund.