GEOPA Participant

What is MPAC >

An organization dedicated to enhancing participation in "arts and culture" activities for young people and adults in the region.

© 2008 Dr. Alice Christie

About MPAC and the

Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) was founded in July 2004 at the recommendation of the Maricopa Regional Arts and Culture Task Force. Its mission is to develop and implement partnerships that advance arts and culture as a critical component of the region's economic prosperity, distinctiveness and vibrancy. Two key goals are to enhance participation in arts and culture activities for everyone in the region and to integrate arts and culture experiences in the education and lives of young people. As a non-profit arts and culture organization, MPAC is working to fill the creativity gap left by the reduction of the arts in formal education in Maricopa County by providing both in- and out-of-school programs.

The GEOPA Project will help MPAC achieve the following goals:

  • To increase arts and cultural experiences in the education of young people
  • To develop creative and critical thinking abilities in young people
  • To enhance participation in "arts and culture" activities for everyone in the region
  • To develop and implement entrepreneurial partnerships that advance arts and culture
  • To build regional distinction by promoting signature events and unique "arts and culture" experiences

GEOPA Project Curriculum Outline

Young people have increased opportunities to have the world at their fingertips by using global positioning systems (GPS) and participating in geocaching experiences. Using these tools and activities helps students develop curiosity about geography, science, mathematics, art, and the culture in which they live. GPS units and geocaching are multidisciplinary, inquiry-driven, field-based tools useful in engaging students in life-long learning and exploration. The curriculum:

  • Focuses on concrete, hands-on, personally-meaningful learning
  • Uses primary sources of data to ensure authenticity and real-world complexity
  • Requires problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills to develop deep understanding
  • Creates real-world, context-rich environments
  • Embeds learning in social experience
  • Encourages ownership and voice in the learning process
  • Represents the natural complexity of the real world
  • Provides tools/environments that help learners understand multiple perspectives of the world
  • Provides structures, supports, and tools for learners as they seek to control and mediate their own learning

The GEOPA Project Curriculum will incorporate the learning principles listed above and will include GPS receivers and geocaching activities for each of the major public art works in Metropolitan Phoenix.

GEOPA Project Development

Education Director, Elayne Achilles, and GEOPA Consultant, Alice Christie, have advanced the GEOPA Project in a number of ways. Each is briefly summarized below:

Alhambra Pilot Project | Pictures from Day 1 | Pictures from Day 2

  • Attended the ARTS ALIVE Festival in Alhambra and provided a geogacing experience for all interested participants. See photos from ARTS ALIVE.
  • Purchased the GEOPAkids domain name so the GEOPA domain name can be used for the geocaching for Public Architecture Project.
  • Explored GEOPA Web site development through inquiries with a design and branding firm in Phoenix and through a possible partnership with The Arts Institute of Phoenix. We will make a decision on which alternative best aligns with MPAC goals by June 1, 2008. We anticipate having the GEOPA for Kids Web Site operational and public by mid-August.
  • Visited the Phoenix Zoo to access the applicability of the FunFinder GPS system used at the zoo.
  • Explored opportunities to raise funds to support the GEOPA Project. Wrote an AT&T grant proposal, but it was unfunded.