Denise Davis-Cotton, director of the University of South Florida’s (USF) Center for Partnerships in Arts Integrated Teaching (PAInT), has been named principal investigator of an $8.5 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen arts educational programming in the nation’s educational system. Titled “Race, Equity, Arts and Cultural History (REACH),” the project seeks to establish a national, replicable model to strengthen arts learning in U.S. schools and harness the effectiveness of arts integration as a catalyst for increasing student engagement and achievement across multiple content areas. The project will be funded over five years; the Arts Schools Network (ASN), a collective group of national arts leaders, thought partners and valuable contributors to the arts, is working directly with Davis-Cotton to implement the program.
Davis-Cotton, who founded and served as the first principal of Detroit School of Arts, has long enjoyed a collaborative relationship with ASN, where she previously served as a board member and past president. As director of the USF Center for PAInT, which is housed on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, Davis-Cotton has leveraged community partnerships across Florida to develop innovative art-based programming.