MIDLAND One of Texas’ largest oil and natural gas producers is partnering with the Museum of the Southwest to make arts education programs more accessible to youth of all ages throughout the Permian region.
The partnership ensures that the educational programs offered by the Turner Art Museum, the Durham Children’s Museum and the museum’s Blakemore Planetarium will be accessible to toddlers and teens through a variety of platforms, including drawing and art lessons, storytelling, reading groups and STEM opportunities, among many others. .
Pioneer, which bases its operations in Midland, is committing $50,000 to the initiative, which will allow the museum to offer free or low-cost classes to guests.
“Forging a partnership with the Museum of the Southwest to provide arts education programs for youth of all ages in West Texas is a natural fit for us,” said Rich Dealy, president and chief operating officer of Pioneer Natural Resources. “One of the company’s enduring missions is to support the communities where our employees live and work, and we are proud to be involved with the museum so that early education programs like these can thrive across the Permian region.”
The Southwest Museum is committed to engaging young people of all ages and abilities in immersive experiences that foster creativity and education.
Numerous studies have consistently shown that introducing students to arts education at an early age improves their motivation, focus and confidence. There is also a statistical correlation between exposure to arts programs and better performance in the classroom, including gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal ability.
In Texas, high school students who took more arts courses were twice as likely to graduate, 22% were more likely to go on to college, and had pass rates of up to 15% higher on standardized tests than students who took fewer arts classes, according to the 2021 State of the Arts Report by the nonprofit Texas Cultural Trust.
“We are humbled by Pioneer Natural Resources’ commitment to supporting this venture,” said Lori Wesley, CEO of the Museum of the Southwest. “Art is generally not seen as critical thinking; yet it is the beginning of new ways of thinking. Does the grass always have to be painted green? Great change starts with the ability to see things differently, and we invest in the community through the eyes and minds of our young people.
Some programs made possible through Pioneer’s partnership with the museum include Mommy & Me classes, artwork, play dates, offsite outreach programs and a new field trip experience that correlates activities at the museum with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives.
“When your child comes for a museum trip this year, they’ll not only be enjoying campus amenities, they’ll also be participating in activities that support what they’re learning in the classroom,” said Rebecca Mena, director of the museum. children Fredda Tuner Durham. “There is a need to provide comprehensive and engaging educational programs that foster expressive outlets for our children.
“We are grateful to Pioneer for their support in making this a reality for our community,” she said.
Since its founding in 1997, Pioneer has established itself as a national and regional leader in oil and gas exploration, industrial innovation and production. Throughout its growth in Texas as a large independent energy company, among its enduring missions has been a deep devotion to philanthropy and volunteerism.
Pioneer’s support for the museum goes beyond its wallet. Employees regularly volunteer at many museum events aimed at building stronger communities through access to the arts. At the museum’s recent SeptemberFest arts festival, for example, more than a dozen Pioneer employees volunteered their time to ensure the success of the annual celebration.
“We are beyond grateful to the Museum of the Southwest for sharing its story of culture and diversity through arts education,” said Amanda Day, Senior Public and Government Affairs Advisor at Pioneer. “Pioneer is proud to extend this fascinating story to some of our youngest Permian learners through our sponsorship of the museum’s Children’s Art Education Program.”