About
Amp Up Arts

Our Mission

At Amp Up Arts we aim to advance equitable experiences in arts education for all Alabama students through partnerships, advocacy, and resource development.

What We Do

Through our endeavors, we aim to provide quality and comprehensive arts education to every student, every school, and every community. We empower communities to use existing resources that may enhance arts activities in schools and community organization through partnerships and collaborations; promote and encourage the joint cooperation of teachers, administrators, and artists to provide students with quality, research-based arts education; and advocate for the value and immediate need for arts education at the state level.

Our Mission

Every day we work to amplify the arts through:

Through our regional collaborative sites, we conduct research on the current state of Alabama arts education, and disseminate the information statewide. Using this information, we can highlight the benefits of the arts on students’ education, not only as an experience, but also through the integration and creation of art. By including a diverse group of participating stakeholders, including education, community, and business leaders, teachers, artists, community organizations, and art professional organizations, we combine multiple voices to reinforce the need for a comprehensive and effective arts education.

Working with the Alabama State Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, and the Alabama Legislature, we advocate for sustainable arts education to be implemented and required in every school in Alabama. In addition, we consistently champion for increased resources and funding for arts education in public schools.

We work with leaders who make and influence state and local level educational decisions to support the advocacy for strengthening school programs. As we increase our capacity building, we support districts and schools in strengthening their arts education programs through providing professional development, resources, and collaborations with community partners.

Long-Term Goals

  • We look to provide support for sustaining successes and build on lessons learned.
  • Facilitate the formation of additional regional collaborative sites through an adaptive design process.
  • Provide continued support for collaboration site effectiveness and advocate for the sustainability of arts education and arts specialists in schools.

Our Goals

Goal 1

Become widely recognized as the voice of arts education through consistent statewide messaging and advocacy.

Goal 2

Develop strategies and approaches utilized by all partners and organizations in coordinated efforts that successfully gain appropriate funds from diverse sources.

Goal 3

Provide accessible, ongoing, and timely learning opportunities relevant to school communities throughout the state and support to a sustainable arts education workforce made up of teaching artists, arts education specialists, and educators trained in arts learning strategies.

Goal 4

Build community partnerships and development that is visible, individualized and responsive through establishing solid and sustainable relationships with local organizations and community members.

Diversity, Equity, Access

Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion Statement

We recognize that within the current public pre-K-12 education system there is inequitable access to the arts. Particularly, African American, Latinx and Indigenous students experience significant barriers to access, participation and success in arts learning that are directly linked to pervasive racial inequities in our educational system. We believe every student has a right to a well-rounded education that includes the arts and the benefits they bring. Our commitment is to work to address root causes of inequities, including elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that allow detrimental outcomes to persist.

Amp Up Arts is committed to conscious Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion principles and actions, which includes the following:

Amp Up Arts commits to developing our programs so they are inclusive of advocates that represent many different perspectives, especially those from underrepresented groups. Board members, partners, and collaborative site directors value diverse points of view as essential to establishing Amp Up Arts as a leader in arts education advocacy and policy and to serving our entire state.

We are committed to increasing the diversity of our board and partners to better reflect the demographics of the students in Alabama public schools today. We seek to expand our board and partners to include the voices and perspectives of a more diverse range of organizations, beyond the traditional arts education stakeholders. Members value ideas from individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds as essential to developing a successful arts education advocacy and policy initiative.

Amp Up Arts promotes a working environment that values fairness, openness, loyalty to our mission, and a commitment to excellence. We strive to be fair and inclusive in our policies and practices for all partners. We strive to create a working environment where we can discuss the opportunities and challenges around identifying a more diverse talent pool for members and consultant roles. Advancing equity as we serve a diverse student body is central to our mission. We believe every student deserves to experience the arts and special efforts must be made to reach students in schools where a well-rounded education has not been provided. We commit to ground our work in data-driven, evidence-based methods that will guide our decision-making, program development and promotion of promising practices.

Amp Up Arts supports the Declaration of Student Rights to Arts Education, and we are committed to promoting arts learning that embraces community resources, and that creates opportunities for students to contribute to the design of their learning. Our framework of equity provides intersections with and opportunities to disrupt layers of inequities named in the Declaration associated with background, culture, language or geographic location as well as with disability. We strive to continue to refine this policy as we learn and grow as an organization. The Leadership Team intends to devote more time and careful consideration to addressing these issues in a more comprehensive fashion and the statement and policies will be revised over time.

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Board Members

Ashley Lucier

Ashley Lucier

Executive Director

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A former English teacher, RtI Coordinator, and assistant principal, Ashley holds a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education and Language Arts with a minor in Theatre, a Master’s in Liberal Arts- English, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. As executive director, she is particularly passionate about strategies to provide increased equitable arts education access to underserved communities across Alabama.

In addition, Ashley is closely involved in her local arts community, occasionally paints, and as a kidney donor, supports transplant advocacy. Ashley is currently living and working in the Montgomery area. She is happiest with her two boys, a cup of coffee, or on a hiking trail.

Carey E. Andrzejewski

Carey E. Andrzejewski

Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck Endowed Professor, College of Education, Auburn University

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A former math and dance teacher, Carey is Professor of Social Foundations of Education and Educational Research at Auburn University. She also serves as the Education and Training Consultant for the Office of Research Compliance. In these roles, she explores and facilitates the work of educators toward more ethical and socially just policies and practices. Carey’s education includes: BS, Berry College, 1999; MA, Texas Woman’s University, 2022; MA, The Ohio State University, 2007; Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008.

Jonathan Avant

Jonathan Avant

Account Manager, Client Accounting Services, Aldridge Borden

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Jonathan Michael Avant is a father, music & visual artist, accountant and community advocate that believes successful economic and community development can better be sustained through a healthy socioeconomic foundation. A Montgomery native, Jonathan was born on the Maxwell Air Force base to Glenn and Brenda Avant. Jonathan is an accounting graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery and possesses extensive experience in commercial lending, business development, banking, and accounting. Since April 2021, Jonathan has served as an accountant with the Montgomery-based firm of Aldridge, Borden & Co. where he focuses on providing accounting services to small minority-owned businesses and schools with the hopes of improving access to capital and increasing the number of locally created jobs.

Anthony (AJ) Buckner

Anthony (AJ) Buckner

Deputy Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, Curriculum and Instruction

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A teacher that is focused on helping each student improve their future by reaching their potential.

Pame Cavellos

Pame Cavellos

Education Curator, Alabama Contemporary Arts Center

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Pamela Cevallos Amores is the Education Curator at Alabama Contemporary Art Center. Pame holds a B.A. in Art History and a minor Contemporary Arts from Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Louisiana State University. For the past nine years, her work has been focused on leading art education projects that promote the expression of cultural identities and encourage collaborative community relationships. She serves as a board member of the Hispanic American Business Association of the Gulf Coast and the Amp UP Arts Initiative. The Ecuadorian art professional speaks four languages and her research interests range from participatory and relational arts to art studies on gender, cultural identities, and politics.

Kerri-Noelle Humphrey

Kerri-Noelle Humphrey

Program Director, Alabama Dance Council

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Kerri-Noelle is a dedicated arts professional serving as the Program Director for the Alabama Dance Council. She passionately shares her arts education expertise as a Teaching Artist for Creative Launchpad and the Arts Collab. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was honored with an Arts Educator Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2022, and she previously earned the title of Academy for Academics and Arts Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Kevin King

Kevin King

Executive Director, The King’s Canvas

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Kevin King relocated to the historic Washington Park neighborhood in 2007, where he and his family aimed to become woven into the fabric of a historically marginalized community to foster its transformation. Here he founded The King’s Canvas Gallery and Studio in 2018, which operates as a creative haven that caters to an art community in Montgomery that has remained underserved and unseen. Through artistic expression and creative placemaking, they channel efforts towards revitalizing the neighborhood and individuals by empowering entrepreneurship and teaching financial literacy and life-skill development.

Ruth Jatib O’Connor

Ruth Jatib O’Connor

Visiting Teaching Artist, Visual Arts Educator, Arts Integration Facilitator

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Presently focused on building connections between art and non-art subjects by developing and implementing Arts Integration programs in city and county schools. Ruth also holds an active practice in her studio and helps support underrepresented local artists with an annual non-profit event every December.

James Ward

James Ward

Attorney

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James Ward is a practicing attorney in Montgomery, Alabama, where he primarily works on matters concerning public education and administrative procedures or regulations.

Mike Winkelman

Mike Winkelman

Professor Emeritus in Auburn University Montgomery’s Department of Communication and Theatre; Freelance Designer/Director

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Mike Winkelman is an Emeritus Professor in Auburn University Montgomery’s Department of Communication and Theatre and a member of the Alabama Conference of Theatre’s Hall of Fame. He is a founding member of the Cloverdale Playhouse and a freelance set/lighting designer and director. He is also an Ida Belle Young Scholar, Distinguished Research Professor, Distinguished Teaching Professor, and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Eclipse Theatre in Chicago, IL, and at Baptist East Hospital in Montgomery. Mr. Winkelman is the owner/operator of First Tech, L.L.C., and, along with his wife, Val, is the proud parent of two Auburn University graduates, Emily and Courtney.

Ex-Officio Members

Euri Carr

Performing Arts Program Manager, Alabama State Council on the Arts

Andrew Henley

Deputy Director, Alabama State Council on the Arts

Kaci Norman

Arts in Education Program Manager, Alabama State Council on the Arts

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Timeline of Amp Up Arts 2012-2022

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September 2012

A survey on access and quality of arts education in public schools in Alabama is administered to school principals through the office of state superintendent

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September 2013

Arts Education Leadership Team is established to create a plan for arts education that would make measurable progress toward the development of artistic and creative literacy for all Alabama students

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September 2015

Arts Education Leadership Team approves plan to be submitted for adoption in the state of Alabama

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March 2016

Artistic Literacy Consortium is formed as a collective impact model for arts education in Alabama

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2018

The Alabama State Legislature approves funding for three pilot collaborative sites to be formed: Arts Collab (formally the Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative), West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative Site at the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, and Creative Launchpad Collaborative Site (formally North Alabama Arts Education Collaborative) at Arts Huntsville

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January 2021

Collaborative Sites West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative and Arts Collab secure NEA funding to support the The pARTners Project, a multi-phase collective impact initiative plan to increase access to arts education for students in the West-Central Alabama region.

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August 2022

State Director hired for state level backbone support for collaborative sites.

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November 2022

Partnership created with Governor Kay Ivey’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation and the Alabama State Department of Education to implement increased arts learning and experiences through the Governor’s Turnaround Schools Initiative

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January 2023

Artistic Literacy Consortium rebrands to Amp Up Arts

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January 2023

Amp Up Arts Mobile Collaborative Site created with Mobile Arts Council

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June 2023

Amp Up Arts Troy Collaborative Site created with Johnson Center for the Arts

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July 2023

Incorporated as 501(c)3 non-profit

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August 2023

Amp Up Arts Andalusia Collaborative Site created with Lower Alabama Arts Coalition

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November 2023

Amp Up Arts Montgomery Collaborative Site created with Montgomery Arts Council

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