A new partnership between the UNT Onstead Institute and Denton ISD receives a grant from The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 14:16
DENTON (UNT), Texas - A three-year partnership between the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design, spearheaded by the college’s Jo Ann and Dr. Charles O. Onstead Institute for Education in the Visual Arts and Design, and Denton ISD has received a $75,000 grant from The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation to support the partnership’s research and curriculum development through Design Thinking.
The project, D! K-16 Design Thinking, aims to break new ground in the cultivation of students’ creative and critical capabilities while also fostering other vital skills including collaboration, leadership and innovation through a specialized visual arts curriculum. Because Design Thinking content overlaps with other subject areas such as science and engineering, the project also seeks to create opportunities for interdisciplinary learning.
"Youth arts education is the mission of the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation because research shows that students who receive an arts-infused curiculum tend to graduate at higher rates, score higher on their SATs and become more creative problem solvers and engaged civic leaders,” said Mimi Sterling, vice president of corporate culture and philanthropy at The Neiman Marcus Group. “We couldn't think of a better way to support this initiative than by donating to the UNT Onstead Institute and Denton ISD."
Design Thinking is a loosely linked group of concepts and practices that foster and harness creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. It empowers students to identify and frame problems and conceives failure as a necessary step toward achieving shared goals, emphasizing process over product. Key elements of Design Thinking include empathy, ideation, iteration and assessment.
 “It’s very uncommon for university and K-12 faculty to have the opportunity to enhance curriculum and undertake related research together, especially in a manner that will eventually impact fine arts education district-wide,” said Peter Hyland, Onstead Institute director. “We are extremely fortunate to have forward-looking leadership at both UNT and Denton ISD invested in this collaboration.”  
Jackie deMontmollin, director of fine arts for Denton ISD, remarked, “The opportunity to partner with a Tier One research university on a project of this scale and nature is rare, as is the chance for the university to have sustained engagement with the student and teacher populations in a robust district like Denton ISD.”
During the partnership, UNT College of Visual Arts and Design faculty Michael Gibson and Keith Owens will co-teach and collaborate with Denton ISD K–12 art educators and students to expand the district-wide secondary art curriculum. Funding from the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation will support a graduate assistant position dedicated to the project and related supplies throughout the duration of the partnership.
The Onstead Institute will collect research data on Design Thinking integration and gain valuable insights about the capacities, mindsets, tendencies and needs of K-12 students. These insights will help both organizations advance college/career readiness and student success efforts as K-12 students matriculate to a university setting.
About the Neiman Marcus Group
Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC is a luxury, multi-branded, omni-channel fashion retailer conducting integrated store and online operations under the Neiman MarcusBergdorf GoodmanLast CallHorchow, and mytheresabrand names. For more information, visit www.neimanmarcusgroup.com.

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About the Heart of Neiman Marcus
The Heart of Neiman Marcus is a national corporate giving program that concentrates Neiman Marcus’ charitable efforts on supporting youth arts education. Art is deeply woven throughout the fabric of Neiman Marcus’ heritage, brand, and culture. In fact, Neiman Marcus is one of the few retailers in the world with its own corporate art collection. Engagement with the arts, especially for youth, impacts educational success, which in turn, pays if forward throughout the community.
About Denton ISD Fine Arts
Denton ISD ensures that fine arts plays a vital role in developing students who are prepared for the future. Immersion in the arts is an important element to a well-rounded academic experience. The school district and its communities believe in the importance of educating the "whole child" through comprehensive, high-quality fine arts programs. All elementary students receive weekly instruction in art and music and 78 percent of the secondary student population receive training in one or more fine arts disciplines. The district's student participation in arts instruction (K-12) averages 85 percent. Fine arts programs in Denton ISD are fortunate to enjoy broad support from the local communities, school district, Denton arts groups, the local universities.
For more information about Denton ISD visit: www.dentonisd.org
Fine Arts information is here https://www.dentonisd.org/Page/43975
Follow Denton ISD on twitter @dentonisd
About the Onstead Institute
Established in 2015, the Onstead Institute’s mission is to develop, support, and sustain innovative art and design practices and processes for K-12 education through a program of research, project administration, and public dissemination of information. The Institute embraces this mission and is dedicated to conducting activity in all three areas by developing partnerships and collaborations, utilizing technology, and enhancing resources.

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