Dr. Veronica Alvarez, the recently appointed Wallis Annenberg Director of CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership (CAP), has been selected for a prestigious English Language Specialist Assignment in Serbia by the U.S. Department of State.
Alvarez will embark on a two-week assignment in collaboration with the TALE (Teach Art Learn English) Team and the English Language Teachers’ Association of Serbia at The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, a public museum located in the city of Novi Sad. Alvarez was selected after an educator found her curriculum and dissertation about using works of art to teach English, and encouraged Alvarez to apply to the State Department’s program.
“I am excited about the opportunity to represent the U.S. and CalArts to demonstrate the power of the arts in an international setting,” Alvarez told the 24700 blog during a recent email interview. “I was invited by the English Language Teachers’ Association of Serbia to share my expertise in using the visual arts to teach English. Through this project, I am able to combine my passion for the arts, working with youth, and providing mentoring and training for teachers.”
Alvarez boasts two decades of experience in the museum field, most recently as LACMA’s Director of School and Teacher Programs. At LACMA, Alvarez implemented storytelling through art into her work with the “Maya Mobile,” a mobile classroom outfitted as an archeological site to teach children about the Maya, Aztec and Inka (Inca) civilizations. She also previously served at the Getty Center, where she wrote course curricula and devised professional teaching development opportunities for the Education Department. Alvarez’s doctoral research on using art to facilitate English language acquisition will complement her assignment with Serbia’s TALE Team.
Established in 1991 by the State Department, the English Language Specialist Program has dispatched educators to promote English language learning (ELL) while fostering cultural exchange between the U.S. and other countries. ELL Specialists work with local instructors, educational leaders and ministry of education officials to achieve these goals through projects developed by U.S. embassies in more than 80 countries. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.