Arts Literacy NOLA

KID smART created Arts Literacy NOLA to engage students in a deeper understanding of literary texts through the arts. The program focuses on improving literacy skills for students in grades K-3, and is based on the Performance Cycle- a framework developed at Brown University that has been proven to impact both literacy and social-emotional skills in students. KID smART offers the program in partnership with Arthur Ashe Charter School and Langston Hughes Academy.

Why is it important to read at grade level by the end of the 3rd grade?


By 4th grade, the bulk of the curriculum in all subjects is delivered through written materials so children who struggle to read are at risk of falling further and further behind. Research shows that achieving this milestone comes with a lifetime of benefits for students, including higher high school graduation rates and increased earning potential.

Learn More About The Arts Literacy Project


Meet our Arts Literacy NOLA Partner:
Kurt Wootton


Kurt Wootton is the co-founder of the ArtsLiteracy Project. As the ArtsLiteracy’s Project co-director, his work in urban schools with diverse populations led him to work in different countries in Latin America, particularly Brazil and Mexico. He is also the co-director of Habla, ArtsLiteracy’s lab school in Merida, Mexico. With a specialty in creative literacy pedagogies, teacher professional development, and organizational change, Wootton works with teachers and administrators helping to design schools and organizations that are creative, meaningful, and welcoming places.

Previously he worked as an urban school reform consultant for the Providence School District and has led literacy initiatives for the Boston Public Schools, the St. Paul Public Schools, the Central Falls School District, and Plan Estratégico de Mérida, Mexico.

Wootton has been called on to offer keynote speeches and workshops in a variety of settings, including Harvard University, Middlebury College, SmART Schools, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Maryland, Senac University in Sao Paulo, the Arts Education Partnership, as well as at numerous conferences. He is the co-author of A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts (Harvard Education Press, 2012).

“I’ve seen certain students who’ve had a lot of trouble engaging with my traditional way of teaching significantly improve their ability to remain engaged in the lesson and demonstrate what they’ve learned through the arts. KID smART’s nontraditional approach to teaching content helps students practice the importance of working and learning together while having fun and feeling comfortable with outward expression.”

—3rd grade teacher, Langston Hughes Academy

Teachers in Dance-Integrated Workshop

Arts Literacy Resources

Want to learn more about how our teachers are bringing Arts Literacy into their classrooms? See the resources below!

Teachers in Visual Art Workshop

Arts Literacy Handbook

The handbook is a collection of ideas and activities from other teachers and artists. This handbook includes the activities that have worked best over the years in different educational contexts. Each activity is part of a larger process represented by the Performance Cycle.

Click here to view


Arts Lit Blog

KID smART teaching artists are documenting student learning on our blog.

Step inside KID smART Arts Literacy Classrooms


For more information on Arts Literacy NOLA, email  or call (504) 940-1994.

Arts Literacy NOLA is supported by Baptist Community Ministries and the New Orleans Theatre Association