Partner Spotlight: Magic Box Productions

When did your organization launch and why?

Founded in 2004 by documentary filmmaker and Executive Director Nelle Stokes, Magic Box Productions is an award-winning nonprofit that provides exemplary media arts workshops to help students, teachers and parents bridge the digital divide.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

Magic Box teaching artists come into the classroom to help students create photography, video, animation, audio, and web-based projects while building critical 21st century skills. The heart of our vision is to develop visual and digital literacy from a crucial early age. Through our residencies, students gain skills in technology, problem solving and teamwork. We provide rich experiences for all ages, especially younger and beginning language learners, and are well known for our dedication to customizing each residency for the needs of participating schools.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

Partnering with schools in the New York City area, we have provided more than 21,000 students, teachers, and parents with opportunities for creative expression, community and cultural connections, and access to new technologies. In a variety of hands-on media arts workshops, student participants have explored their lives and community, chronicled school and community events, and told their own original stories. Classroom teachers appreciate the deep partnerships they forge with our teaching artists, who introduce them to new instructional methods, materials, and evaluation tools.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

New York City Department of Education Blueprint workshops, New York Public School Film Festival in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, New York State Council on the Arts workshops.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

Magic Box Productions Executive Director Nelle Stokes is a member of the Media Arts Writing Team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) and has designed curricula for schools and partnerships throughout New York City. She presents regularly on media arts issues at local and national conferences and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

Magic Box Productions is dedicated to providing quality standards-based arts opportunities for all students. We are in a digital age and it is important for educators and students to learn how to use technology for creativity, expression and engagement.

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

Our staff, educators and students really surprised us these past two years. During a very challenging and difficult time they led with heart, innovation and determination and their creativity and excellence was at an all time high. Our mission to grow and change has surpassed what we could have imagined two years ago and we are looking forward to more progress in the future.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.