Class/Course Descriptions 

Foluké Cultural Arts Center is committed to making performing arts, visual arts, and arts education available to all, particularly those who live in underserved areas. At Foluké Cultural Arts Center, children and youth from all backgrounds come together in a structured classroom setting with professional instructors who offer classes in introductory and beginning levels of Ballet, Drama and Visual Arts. Classes have been held at the Cleveland Masonic and Peformance Arts Center, George Washington Carver School, Friendly Inn Settlement House, Arbor Park Village, Marion Sterling School, at our facility, and Outhwaite Homes in Cleveland^s Central Neigborhood.

ArtsLinc - Learning in the Arts

ArtsLinc,  Foluké's integrated arts/'arts plus' program, utilizes local teaching artists to not only provide instruction in: Dance (Ballet, Modern, African, Afro-Cuban), Theater/Creative Writing, Visual Arts (Drawing, Painting & Sculpture), and Media Arts (Videography), but to promote cultural understanding, to instill discipline, self-pride and self-confidence, through self-expression and self-discovery. The name ArtsLinc is derived from the strong relationship or link between learning in the arts and fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used in mastering other school subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics.  The ArtsLinc program has been the starting point for projects such as: A KWANZAA presentation by 80 - 100 students at George Washington Carver School during the school holiday program; an all day bus trip to Detroit, Michigan to have lunch at a Black owned and operated restaurant, and to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Perform at the Detroit Opera House; a partnership with JR Productions Studio, a local business, to implement a Media Arts Program, which resulted in behind the scene tours of WKYC-TV3, the Creative Arts Building at Tri-C, and a tour of JR Productions Studio, where participants worked on their video projects;  and in 2012, attending an Alvin Ailey Performance at Cleveland Playhouse Square in May, attending a Theater Improv and Dance workshop at the Idea Center, tour of the Playhouse Square Theaters, and the Cleveland Museum of Art in June and July during the Summer Arts Program.

Critical Links, a compendium of 62 outstanding arts education studies and interpretive essays, is published by the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a coalition of more than 100 national education, arts, philanthropic, and government organizations.  Critical Links reveals the important relationships between learning in the arts and cognitive capacities (thinking skills) and motivations that underlie academic achievements and effective social behaviors.  The studies suggest that for students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, students needing remedial instruction, and young children, learning in the arts may be especially helpful in boosting learning and achievement.  There are critical links between learning in the arts and academic and social skills and motivations in six major areas: 

1.      Reading and Language Development

a.       Basic Reading Skills – Certain forms of arts instruction enhance and complement basic reading instruction aimed at help children “break the phonetic code” that unlocks written language by associating letter, words and phrases with sounds, sentences and meanings.

b.      Literacy – Young children who engage in dramatic enactment of stories and text improve their reading comprehension, story understanding and ability to read new materials that they have not seen before.

c.       Writing – Spatial reasoning skills inherent in learning music are needed for planning and producing writing.  Dramatic enactments by young children also are shown to produce more effective writing.  Other arts learning experience – in dance and drama for instance – develop expressive and reflective skills that enhance writing proficiency.

2.      Mathematics Certain music instruction, including comprehensive instruction that includes training in keyboard skills, develops spatial reasoning and spatial-temporal reasoning skills which are fundamental to understanding and using mathematical ideas and concepts.

3.      Fundamental Cognitive Skills and Capacities – Learning in individual art forms as well as in multi-arts experiences engages and strengthens such fundamental cognitive capacities such as spatial reasoning (the capacity for organizing and sequencing ideas); conditional reasoning (theorizing about outcomes and consequences; problem solving; and the components of creative thinking (originality, elaboration, flexibility)

4.      Motivations to Learn – Motivation and the attitudes and dispositions to pursue and sustain learning are essential to achievement.  Learning in the arts nurtures these capacities, including active engagement, self-confidence and self-efficacy, and increases in attendance, education aspirations and ownership of learning.

5.      Effective Social Behavior – Studies of student learning experiences in drama, music, dance and multi-arts activities show student growth in self-control, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy and social tolerance.

6.      School Environment – It is critical that a school provide a positive context for learning.  Studies in the Compendium show that the arts help to create the kind of learning environment that is conducive to teacher and student success by fostering teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student attendance and retention, effective instructional practice and school identity.

The chart below from James Catterall’s essay, “The Arts and the Transfer of Learning” in the research compendium Critical Links, separates out the outcomes for each art form (drama, multi-arts, music, dance and visual arts) into two areas:  1) outcomes related to cognitive capacities; and 2) outcomes related to student motivation. 

Cognitive Capacities
(Academic and Social Skills)

(Attitudes and Dispositions)


  • Understanding social relationships
  • Ability to understand complex issues and emotions
  • Concentrated thought
  • Story comprehension (oral and written)
  • Character identification
  • Character motivation
  • Increased Peer interaction
  • Writing proficiency and prolixity
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Skill with subsequently read, unrelated texts
  • Problem-solving dispositions/strategies


  • Special Population
    Lower SES Students: story understanding, story recall, conflict resolution



  • Engagement
  • General self-concept


  • Special Populations:
    *  Special education students: ignoring distractions, courteous behavior, acceptable use of free time
    *   At-risk students: self- confidence, self-image, seeking additional resources to support writing.





  • Empathy for others
  • Creativity/Creative thinking
  • Reading, verbal and mathematics skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • Leadership
  • Higher-order thinking skills




Impacts on School:
  • Instructional practice in school
  • Professional culture of school
  • School climate
  • Community engagement and identity
  • Reduced dropout rates


  • Self-confidence
  • Risk taking
  • Paying attention
  • Self-initiating
  • Persevering
  • Task Persistence
  • Ownership of learning
  • Achievement motivation
  • Cognitive engagement
  • Educational aspirations
  • Engagement/attendance


  • Spatial temporal reasoning
  • Math achievement/proficiency
  • Reading achievement
  • Cognitive development
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Quality of writing
  • Prolixity of writing
  • SAT verbal scores
  • Skills for second language learners


  • Self-efficacy
  • Self concept


  • Creative thinking – fluency
  • Originality, elaboration and flexibility
  • Expressive skills
  • Reading skills
  • Nonverbal reasoning
  • Creativity in poetry
  • Social tolerance


  • Special populations:
    children with learning disabilities: writing and drawing




  • Self confidence
  • Persistence
  • Appreciation of individual/group social development

Visual Arts: 

  • Content and organizations of writing
  • Sophisticated reading skills/interpretation of text
  • Reasoning about scientific images
  • Reading readiness

Visual Arts:



Foluké Cultural Arts Centers’ implementation of its ArtsLinc program has adopted the Wiggins-McTighe concept of ‘Backwards Design’ curriculum.  The Backwards Design model centers on the idea that the design process should begin with identifying the desired results and then “work backwards” to develop instruction rather than the traditional approach which is to define what topics need to be covered. The framework of the design model identifies three stages:

Stage One: Identify the desired result What should the students know, understand, and be able to do?;

Stage Two: Determine Acceptable Evidence – How will we know if the students have achieved the desired result?  Foluké Cultural Arts Centers’ current three arts disciplines (Dance, Theater, Visual Arts), utilize benchmarks from five Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Fine Arts Standards which are interrelated, each contributing to a comprehensive arts education:

  1. Historical, Cultural and Social ContextsStudents understand the impact of art forms on the history, culture and society from which it emanates.  They understand the cultural, social and political forces that, in turn, shape art communication and expression.  Students identify the significant contributions of artists to cultural heritage.  They analyze the historical, cultural, social and political contexts that influence the function and role of art in the lives of people
  2. Creative Expression and CommunicationStudents create artworks that demonstrate the understanding of materials, processes, tools, media, techniques and available technology.  They understand how to use art elements, principles and images to communicate their ideas in a variety of forms.
  3. Analyzing and RespondingStudents identify and discriminate themes, media, subject matter and formal technical and expressive aspects in works of art.  They understand and use the vocabulary of art criticism to describe visual features, analyze relationships and interpret meaning in works of art.  Students make judgments about the quality of works of art using the appropriate criteria.
  4. Valuing the Arts/Aesthetic ReflectionStudents understand why people value the arts.  They present their beliefs about the nature and significance of selected artworks and the reasons for holding these beliefs.  Students reflect on and respect diverse points of view about the arts.
  5. Connections, Relationships, and Applications – Students connect and apply learning in each arts discipline to other academic disciplines and to relevant careers.  They recognize the importance of lifelong learning and experiences in the arts. 

Stage 3: Plan Learning Experience and Instruction - In this stage it is determined what sequence of teaching and learning experiences will equip students to develop and demonstrate the desired understanding. 

 It is the specific goal of the ArtsLinc program to help children to:

Understand the role of the arts in peoples lives;
 Create a dance story based on everyday life and use daily movement as its basis (i.e. the Waking up dance, the Sleeping Dance, the Dream Dance)

Develop and share scenes or improvisations to express ideas and feelings about special events (i.e. a celebration, family reunion).

Identify and describe examples of art in their environment.

Communicate through the arts;

Improvise, create and perform dance sequences with a beginning, middle, and end that are based on stories or personal experiences.
Initiate and develop dramatic ideas based on personal experience, imagination, and other stimuli.

Develop a series of preliminary art works depicting one theme, event, or mood. Create a mask relevant to one’s own culture/environment.
Respond to the arts;
 Identify and demonstrate the basic elements of dance and its relationship to other art forms

Use age-appropriate terminology to describe visual, aural, oral, and kinetic elements in drama/theatre.
Identify the elements and principles of visual arts and other art disciplines: explain how color affects subject matter; identify the focal point/center of interest

And, Value the arts.
Switch roles as a performer and a viewer; articulate how this affects the performance and viewing of the work

 View or participate in drama that marks a specific community event. (i.e. Centennial celebration, the opening of a park).

Demonstrate appropriate skills of an audience (i.e. listening, observing, and responding)

View artworks that reflect specific viewpoints

The arts prepare students for school, work and life: As this country works to strengthen its foothold in the global economy, the arts equip student with a creative, competitive edge. To be successful in today’s economy of ideas, students must masterfully use words, images, sounds, and motion to communicate. The arts provide the skills and knowledge students need to develop the creativity and determination necessary for success.

Of the 3 grade schools (George Washington Carver, Stokes Academy, and Marion-Sterling) in the Central Promise Area, all are reported to be in Academic Watch or Academic Emergency Status, and Foluké Cultural Arts goal is to be a catalyst to help raise Academic achievements of Central students.   Foluké theater or drama classes start with games such as: ‘simon sez’ to hone in on listening and observation skills, and following directions: ‘This is a what’ is a game that hones in on focus and concentration skills: Students also participate in interactive story telling depicting an African cultural or historical event, where they are assigned a character in the story, and a task to complete each time that character’s name is mentioned.   Utilizing their listening skills, students are becoming familiar with story sequence and comprehension, and timing techniques on the delivery of their response.  Theater classes also teach our students how to work together as a team, when they practice call and response recitations.  Our dance classes allow expression through movement.  Students not only learn the basic ballet positions that are the foundation for all dance, they are being exposed to the French language, and terminology. Students also learn of different cultures and historical contexts by being introduced to different forms of dance, such as African Dance, Modern Dance, and Tap Dance.   In Foluké visual arts classes students learn to draw objects using basic shapes – Circle, Square, Rectangle, Triangle, etc.; they learn how to draw a dog using a triangles, Squares, and Rectangles.  They also learn to recognize those shapes in common objects they see everyday.  In addition, students learn shading techniques, as well as painting techniques.  


(Back to the top)


E.J. Davis Student Sponsorship Program


The E.J. Davis Student Sponsorship Program is one that provides art supplies and dance attire to all students who wish to participate and are unable to purchase their own. This Student Sponsorship is als an avenue by which individuals may make a designated contribution of any denomination to help provide students with art supplies, and dance attire for dance classes (if applicable). This program is named after Eura Jean Davis (deceased), the grandparent of one of our former students. Ms. Davis was always concerned about students who were unable to purchase dance attire, or supplies and regularly donated her funds to help in any way possible.

(Back to the top)


John W. Walker, Jr.
Post-Secondary Scholarship

The John W. Walker, Jr. Post-Secondary Scholarship is a fund established to help
Foluké Cultural Arts Students to obtain an education beyond high school. It is limited to students who have participated in the Foluké programs at least one school year (9 months), and has successfully completed 12 grade coursework resulting in graduation. The funds are to be applied to tuition for College or Trade School. This scholarship program is named after Rev. John Wesley Walker, Jr., the former Pastor of Lane Metropolitan CME Church. This organization was founded under is tutelage, and was fiercely supported by him during his tenure in Cleveland, OH. He is now the pastor at Central Metropolitan CME Church in Jacksonville FL, and remains as a member of the Foluké Board of Directors.

(Back to the top)