Twenty years ago, KID smART was just a twinkle in the eye of its founders, Allison Stewart and Campbell Hutchinson. Over these past two decades, this local arts education organization has served over 30,000 students and 5,000 teachers, blending a variety of art forms with academic subjects in more than 40 New Orleans public schools. As these pre-kindergartners through 8th graders learn through the arts, they grow in both academic and creative skills like collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Those same values will serve the small-yet-mighty KID smART team well this summer as they begin a new chapter in the organization’s story.

KID smART’s founding director, Echo Olander, will be stepping out as Executive Director at the end of June. Since 1999, Echo has ensured KID smART’s growth and success and touched the lives of students and teachers throughout the city and beyond.

L to R: Echo Olander – outgoing Executive Director,
Phil Gunn – Board Chairman, Elise Gallinot Goldman – incoming Executive Director

As of July 1st, the work of directing KID smART’s next act will transition to Elise Gallinot Goldman. Elise brought her expertise to KID smART in 2000 and has served as Education Director for the last ten years. Elise has played an instrumental role in shaping and evolving programming to serve thousands of New Orleans students and hundreds of teachers each school year. Elise is an educator and maker who earned her master’s degree in Arts Administration from UNO and has served on the faculty of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom since 2014.

“KID smART has been nothing but a labor of love for me. I’m abundantly excited that the board has hired Elise to carry the agency into its next phase of development. With her balance of passion, heart and head, she’s the perfect leader for this work. As I swing out to the next phase, I couldn’t be more proud of KID smART or more excited for its future.” – Echo Olander, outgoing Executive Director

KID smART’s incoming Education Director, India King, is a writer, theater artist and educator committed to affirming and uplifting youth and people of color through the arts. She moved to New Orleans in 2009 to teach special education at KIPP Believe College Prep, where she worked for eight years. Before transitioning into arts administration, India worked at KBCP as an assistant principal and family engagement chair. India recently co-launched a project focused on creating artistic experiences that highlight artists who identify as black and female. India will earn a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from UNO in December 2018.


The summer transitions go beyond staffing, as KID smART is moving to a new office space at the end of June. The new offices – within a complex named the Rose Collaborative and located at 2533 Columbus Street in the Esplanade Ridge/7th Ward neighborhood – will provide space to expand services, hold professional development sessions on-site, and offer arts integration workshops to children and families. Other tenants in the space will include Southern Rep Theatre, Fund 17, and Waldorf School of New Orleans.

What’s next for KID smART schools, students, and teachers? The cornerstone will always be arts integration: an educational approach in which teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to help students engage in a creative process, connecting an art form and academic subject to improve learning in both areas. In a rapidly evolving school system, KID smART offers a variety of other programs to meet the needs of all schools and students. Afterschool and enrichment classes taught by KID smART artists let children explore art forms like puppetry, musical theatre, and animation. Artful Families, which KID smART launched in 2017, engages whole families in visual art and drama activities to encourage healthy mental and social development through the arts. KID smART’s Homegrown Teaching Artist Institute is a comprehensive training program with a focus on supporting artists of color and artists born and raised in SE Louisiana in building marketable skills as teaching artists. Finally, with the recent announcement of a three-year grant from Baptist Community Ministries, KID smART will launch Arts Literacy NOLA, a program that will build critical reading skills through theater and visual arts.

“There are no intermissions in arts education. KID smART looks forward to being a critical part of the next 20 years of artful teaching and learning in New Orleans schools.” – Elise Gallinot Goldman, incoming Executive Director