Reignite a love for learning through creativity, music, art, and technology. Natural artists blossom. Shy students find their voice. Unmotivated students re-engage. The AM Project partners with schools, after-school programs, non-profits, city and public programs, to teach hands-on DJing, creative writing, and visual arts. Taught by industry professionals, the AM Project also offers one-on-one instruction in our studio and a virtual classroom.
Our mix-sion (mission) is to empower youth to explore their creativity through the use of digital art and music, while instilling values and skills they can use in school and throughout life.
The AM Project, a 501(c)(3), was created in 2015 by a group of artists and educators to carry out the mission of empowering youth with arts and music by tapping into their creativity, through DJing, Music Production, Graphic Design and Creative Writing. The AM Project has adapted our unique and progressive digital arts and music program to support local non-profits, traditional public schools and charter schools, city programs, and homeschoolers, exciting youth with a new way to express themselves and igniting their creative side.
Our digital arts and music program introduces kids in grades K–12 to the basics of DJing and Music Production. Depending on the class, requirements, resources, and timeline, we develop a music curriculum for students to learn music structure/theory, DJ 101 to advanced DJing, new technology, and how to work as a team. With our programs, we support on-campus, in-house, studio, and online classes that are aligned with TEKS standards.
With our mission and vision in mind, the AM Project ensures programs meet the objectives of:
- Teaching young people basic art, music theory, and team building competency so art becomes more than just something cool, and instead a part of their lives as a way for them to express themselves, influence culture, and think about their future.
- Developing art skills in young people that align with current and emerging technology.
- Reinforcing and expanding their education with a focus on STEAM, preparing the AM Project’s students for college and the working world of art and music, helping them be prepared to solve the creative problems of the future.
- Teaching natural artists to embrace the artist within, through creative expression and nurturing art talent in others with peer to peer teaching.
Integration & Impact of our non-profit. Working hand-in-hand with our partners, our courses and programs will accommodate their requirements, including class size, units/time, and resources. Our classes and programs are offered both in classroom and as online curriculum (in beta) for our core programs: DJing, music production (including music theory with add on workshops like graphic design), creative writing, and graffiti art. Our standards are reflective of national standards and have measurable impact.
Short Term Impact: Knowledge/Awareness. In the short term, students have an increased knowledge and awareness of these elements:
- Art and music theory, history, and production
- Artistic ability and talent
- Opportunities, careers, businesses, and emerging technology
- Priming their own appetite to explore and learn
- Tapping into their own desire to graduate from high school in order to enter art or entertainment businesses
- Future opportunities for higher education and employment
- Relationship skills; working with other students; deadlines
Mid Term Impact: Behavior/Skills. In the medium term, the program impacts students’ behavior and skills:
- Elevated skill sets
- Develop mid-level skills in specific area
- Improved attendance at school
- Passing STAAR
- Improved GPA
- Advancement to the next grade
- Increased confidence, self-discipline, and monitoring
- Development of educational or vocational goals
- Increased number of developmental assets
Long Term Impact: Social Conditions. In the longer term, the program improves the students’ social conditions:
- Increasing number of professional musicians and artists
- Increased professionalism and ability to earn a living wage in the artistic community
- Increased high school completion and number entering college
- Greater recognition for successful professional artists and musicians
Programs and Customized Lessons: Resourceful teachers recognize the value of bringing music and art professionals into their classroom to either teach the entire course, or provide the course structure to which they can add their own personal style.
Real Life Collaboration: Imaginative educators want to provide a unique curriculum to their students and they’ll love our classes.
Creative Experiences: Hands-on learning experience is a proven tool to engage students in digital arts and music.
Industry Mentors: The AM Project’s team consists of professionals in music, education, visual arts, and marketing.
I “AM” Different: One of the key elements that makes our curriculum different is the mentorship your students will receive. The AM Project has extensive experience going into classrooms and sharing our professional knowledge with students. As an extension of the curriculum package, The AM Project’s musicians, music producers, sound engineers, and creative professionals will digitally mentor the students and educators using the interactive curriculum. The AM Project will mentor your students either in-person or digitally. Students will receive feedback and guidance to improve their skills, encouraging them to create high-quality projects. Educators will receive guidance on implementing the curriculum and assistance on any tech issues related to hardware and software used in the program.
Cue Next Track
What’s next for the AM Project? Since the founding of our non-profit in 2015, we constantly adjust our offerings to submit unique and progressive programs and curricula for students.
Along with our classroom and onsite workshops, core programs, and private classes, we’re expanding our offerings to include an Arts Integrated Curriculum. Schools and educators incorporate art and music into non-creative subjects, encompassing the whole learning process. Our Founder and Creative Director, Louis Cardenas, was awarded a place in the 2021 Tobin Center’s Arts Integration residency and trained in the Kennedy Center philosophy of Arts Integration.
The Kennedy Center’s Arts Integration program incorporates parallel learning of core subjects with art. The principles of knowledge acquisition, combined with a dynamic and innovate teaching approach and enhanced learning.
The first art integrated residency begins in fall 2022 with the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Our premier residency is for grades 4–12 and is titled “Tune Into History: Creating Historical Multimedia Mashups.”
Music is a powerful way of instantly communicating a time, place, mood, and events. Image that power combined with learning history! In this residency, students will explore historical events through music and audio recordings of speeches. The Tune Into History residency culminates with musical mash-ups to demonstrate their understanding of the significant events in history.
The students will know: Elements of music, types of instruments, song structure and music genres throughout History. How music tells a story in history, identifies cultures or movements, and reflects the priorities of the time.
The students will be able to: Understand basic music elements and structure to create a rhythm / melody for a period of time and culture. Students will also use historic speeches, quotes, and sound clips for the assignment. Compose a track using instruments from the period / culture to convey an event in history and perform for the class.
We are excited about our new programs and residency and look forward to supporting our community and across the country’s youth.
Charter Moms Chats
San Antonio native Louis Cardenas is a small business owner and supporter of local artists and charities. Louis honed his artistic skills while attending San Antonio College and landed his first job in publishing. After six years in publishing, a start-up communications company in Austin recruited him. During the dot-com years, Louis, along with his colleagues, was credited with taking the company public.
In early 2001, Louis took a risk and opened a creative/multi-media firm, Blonde Creative. Since its inception, Blonde Creative, which consists of a great group of creatives, has become an award-winning agency with clients ranging from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
As the owner of a small design group, Louis is an active member in the advertising industry, plus he has served on the board of the San Antonio Advertising Federation, and was President of the organization in 2008. Louis is also an active board member of TX Reads and a past board member of SA Youth and Alamo Colleges Foundation, and in 2015 he founded a non-profit, The AM Project: A Digital Arts and Music Program. Louis has expanded his creative passion with a mission to give youth in the community access to inventive ways to express themselves creatively with art and music. His vision is to nurture the artist in our community’s youth while instilling values and skills for school and life. Louis enjoys witnessing the confidence and pride of his students as they advance their skills in the arts and grow as an artist. Louis enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters.
Read More About Arts Education
- “Alamo Arts Academy Offers a New Kind of Multimedia Education,” Buddy Calvo, March 30, 2022
- “The New Digital Parenting: Connections Over Conflict,” Emily Daniels and Lindsay Durham, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 1, 2020
- “Film Studies,” Nathan Cone, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 3, 2020