STEAM Riverside

img_0207To kick off the year, the city-wide STEAM coordinator, Sharlene Yang, organized the first STEAM night Riverside, at the MLK School. CCC attended as a partner and offered the ever popular Makey Makey Musical Instruments. This activity pairs learning about sculpture, music, electrical currents and computer programming all in one! A diverse group of learners joined us from pre-K to 8th grade and their parents!


Interview of CCC Director by Cambridge Rindge & Latin students

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 12.23.08 PMCambridge Rindge & Latin students have an amazing opportunity to take classes and programs at the school’s Media Resource Center. One of the highlights is working out of a real TV studio and interviewing people that do interesting things in Cambridge. Watch their latest Spot On Interview with Kyle Browne, Director of Cambridge Creativity Commons here! 

Partnerships to Foster Creativity

The most recent report from the field about our work with CPS through the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) Creativity/Innovation Grant. This article, written by CCC’s director, focuses on our role as a cultural partner using arts-based interdisciplinary learning to foster creativity.  Click here to see the full article online at the DESE Contextual Learning Portal


Posted by: Kyle Browne | Cambridge Creativity Commons | Lesley University


Light. Color. Observation. Nature. What are the topics and skills studied in science classes that invite cross-curriculum collaboration with technology and art? How can having an outside cultural partner help to open up these collaborations?

Interactive Ecosystems, a 6th grade project looking at relationships in forest ecosystems, came from such questions. The work began in 2014 with an initial collaboration between an instructional technology specialist, a 6th grade science teacher and myself, a teaching artist and director of the Cambridge Creativity Commons at Lesley University, three passionate educators wanting their students to have an engaging learning experience.  We are in the second year of the Creativity/Innovation Grant, and Interactive Ecosystems is now being implemented across all five 6th grades in the Cambridge Public Schools (CPS).

As the cultural partner, the Cambridge Creativity Commons (CCC) is working with the CPS science department and collaborating closely with individual teachers. CCC’s mission is “to engage Cambridge Public School students and teachers in developing their imagination and creativity across disciplines to enrich aesthetic understanding and activate the joy of learning through innovative arts-based projects.” By working across disciplines and using the arts as a catalyst for learning, students are able to access the content in new ways.

As the sole teaching artist for Interactive Ecosystems, I am responsible for coordinating communication, collaborating with teachers in lesson development, providing training, and assisting with implementation of the arts-related lessons.  As a result of our experience over the first two years, we realized it would be beneficial to separately address the art and technology skills before beginning Interactive Ecosystems.  In this way, we could build sustainability and overcome time constraints, while also increasing the expertise and level of comfort of teachers and students using new art and technology skills. This year, we are conducting several skill-building sessions that not only prepare for Interactive Ecosystems, but also provide creative opportunities for other projects throughout the year.

At this writing we are in the midst of implementing these lessons; I am working across the district to engage teachers and students in observational drawing and watercolor painting as they simultaneously learn about the science concepts of color and light. These lessons are building students’ ability to observe closely as they learn to both trust and question what they see, and as they learn to use new materials to access science and art content in a unique, interdisciplinary way.

As a cultural partner, my role has been to identify and develop areas for cross-curricular collaboration that might not readily be available to teachers. As a trained artist and educator working in a cultural non-profit, I have the ability and time to uncover areas of connections among multiple subjects, and, in collaboration with teachers, develop curriculum that works at the intersections of these varying subjects.  Through engaging, hands-on and integrated projects, students are gaining understanding of art, technology and science concepts.  As a practicing artist I am able to share my expertise and experience, providing a new perspective for students and teachers. This connection to the real world enriches the classroom environment, and I constantly hear from teachers how beneficial and refreshing it is for them as well as their students.

Share your experiences! What are some of the natural connections you see among art, science, technology and other fields? How do you reshape curriculum to allow students, teachers, and partners to explore connections across disciplines?

Attached is a photo from the current project, Light & Color: Through the Eyes of an Artist.

Click here to see the full article online at the DESE Contextual Learning Portal

CCC partnership highlighted in 2014/15 CPSD STEM newsletter!

Read what the Cambridge Public School’s new STEM department has been up to this past year as well as two of the highlighted projects that were done in partnership with CCC!  Vassal Lane, Putnam Avenue and Rindge Avenue participated in innovative and creative ways to incorporate art, technology and science with 6th and 8th grades to learn about plate tectonics, kinetic energy and forces of motion as well as 21st century learning skills that come by collaborating, communicating and taking risks. Continue reading CCC partnership highlighted in 2014/15 CPSD STEM newsletter!

Kinetic Sculpture with 8th grade artist/scientists!

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We are very excited our project was featured on the Cambridge Public Schools Facebook page! This project was based on using ‘Forces at a Distance’ electricity, electromagnetism, magnetism and gravity to create a kinetic sculpture. Students were given a wide variety of materials and tools to create with, including use of power tools, batteries, decorative materials and their own imagination! Continue reading Kinetic Sculpture with 8th grade artist/scientists!

Putnam Avenue Creative Journaling Project on view NOW!

image[1] Putnam Avenue Upper School Creative Journaling Project: In collaboration with Dorothy Arnold is on exhibit now at the Cambridge Main Library!

Opening Reception
Wednesday December 4th, 5-7pm
449 Broadway in the Beech Room
Light refreshments & Student and Teacher comments at 6pm

In the 2012-13 school year 6th grade students at PAUS partnered with the Cambridge Creativity Commons to construct their own hand-bound journals inspired by Dorothy Arnold’s legacy of art journals. These journals are filled with pages that creatively express students’ knowledge across disciplines through image and text. A selection of Dorothy’s journals presented alongside the student journals will be exhibited at the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library November 23 – Jan 31.


Moon Phase Stop-Motion Animation, 6th grade science

MoonAnimationFeaturedimage In September the Putnam Avenue Upper School 6th grade science class put on their hats as scientists and animators to learn the moon phases!

The learning goals were to demonstrate the sequencing of 8 different moon phases and the moons relationship to the earth in each phase through stop-motion animation.

Collaborating with the Ms. Tolles, the science teacher and Ms. G, the technology specialist we developed a lesson that combined rigorous hands-on learning and exploring new skills in media arts.

Students began with a storyboard to show correct order, labeling and moon to earth relationship. They directly used this storyboard as reference to take photographs of moon models in the different phases. Teams of two students, one acting as director of photography, one as the ‘prop’ manager used a professional camera set-up to document each phase. They then transferred their images to the computer and scaled, edited and animated them with timings in iMovie. Some students even added sound effects, titles and extra graphics. I was very excited at the outcomes and the dedicated collaboration of the other two teachers to make this a success. Moon Phase 5

The students participated enthusiastically and even the 7th graders poked their heads in saying, “Hey! We never got to do this last year!”.

Ms. Tolles, the 6th grade science teacher comments, “I am just amazed at the synthesis of knowledge that went on to integrate both perspectives of the sun, moon, and Earth.  Kids really enjoyed the project, and they showed incredible mastery of the content in a very short time period.  In short, I am super excited for our next stop motion project!”

See more photos on our project gallery page,

Summer at CCC is quite an Adventure!

This summer CCC has partnered with four different youth centers in Cambridge to do a week-long residency with the theme of Eco-Art Adventure at each.

Eco-Art Adventures is a program that revolves around art and the environment, crossing the disciplines of ecology and art that provides outdoor and artistic exploration.  The format consists of the students engaging in outdoor explorations such as a nature walks, public street art tours, kayaking and swimming and then creating art, during, and in response to their experience. This encourages observation, critical thinking, learning about various environments and personal expression.  Some examples of art activities include field sketching, nature assemblage, sun-prints, photography and environmentally conscious activism art. Students will exhibit work at the end of the week to share with peers and staff.

The kayaking & environmental art field trip at Discovery Adventures in Gloucester, MA has definitely been a favorite!

About 1/2 way through here are a few photos with some of the highlights!


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Cambridge River Festival!

This year CCC made its debut appearance at the 34th annual Cambridge River Festival organized by the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC). It was a day filled with interactive art-making, river serpents and quite a bit of wind to cool us off – but also make papers fly! Thanks to my hardy volunteers we secured and exhibited student work, Doffie Arnolds abstract and figurative paintings and set up a great space for children and families to come make art. Our activities included making paper river serpents using paper bags and streamers and participating in a collaborative painting of a large river serpent. The painted serpent is living at the CCC studio – but hoping to hang it in a more public venue soon! The River Festival was a great way to showcase the work of Cambridge students and highlight our strong Cambridge partnerships which include the CAC, Cambridge Community Foundation, Cambridge Public Schools, Lesley University and the Art Institute of Boston.

The quote of the day (or even month!) was by Torren, 7yrs, “When I’m painting, nothing feels impossible” – absolutely priceless!