Code/Art launches innovative program with support from Microsoft and Knight Foundation

Mar 7, 2019 | All News, Press Release, TeacHER - Professional Development

The program provides professional development and continued support to Miami-Dade County public school art teachers, empowering them to teach four art projects per school year that use computer programming as the creative medium.

MIAMI, March 7th, 2019  —

Code/Art today announced its Empowering Art Teachers to Inspire Next Generation Coders program with support from Microsoft and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and in partnership with Florida International University (FIU) School of Computing & Information Sciences (SCIS). This program will promote early access to computer science education for Miami-Dade County public school students in Title One schools and other schools with limited or no computer science classes and is aimed at leveling the playing field for girls and minorities, who are significantly underrepresented in computing fields.  

The $120,000 investment from Microsoft and matching funds from Knight Foundation will allow Code/Art to offer the program free of charge to teachers from up to 60 Miami-Dade County public schools. Preference will be given to middle school art teachers in Title One schools, but may then be opened up to include middle school technical education teachers and elementary school art teachers.  

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this program that will empower Code/Art to reach over 15,000 girls and underrepresented minority students in the 2019-2020 school year,” said Amy Austin Renshaw, CEO, and co-founder of Code/Art. “An early, fun and creative introduction to coding will get kids excited about computer science and on the path to expanding the technical talent pool in South Florida.”

Each teacher will be paid to attend a two-day training session led by Code/Art and held at FIU, where teachers will be taught to lead four art lessons that use computer programming as the medium to create portraits, abstract art, 3D art and animations. Support from Microsoft and Knight will also be used to create paid internships for up to 15 FIU computer science students, who will assist the art teachers in teaching coding aspects of each lesson during the program’s inaugural year. Code/Art will provide continuing support to the teachers as needed through webinars, online tutorials and follow-up sessions.  

“At Microsoft we’re committed to ensure all youth in Miami-Dade are future ready,” said Lucas Hernandez, Civic Engagement Lead for Microsoft in Miami. “To do so, it’s clear that we need to meet our children where they are inspired, not programmed. Code/Art reflects the artistic personality and dynamism Miami is known for. Their innovative and accessible new program will help build the capacity of teachers to help decrease the gaps in participation in computer science education.”

“It’s never too early to create avenues for Miami’s budding talent pool to discover and participate in the city’s growing innovation community,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director in Miami. “Code/Art’s new program engages and prepares young people, a majority of whom are from underrepresented communities, for a field of the future. Through its sustainable train-the-trainer model, Miami and the entrepreneurial sector will reap the benefits of this program for decades to come.”

“FIU is proud to support a program that includes art teachers as participants in today’s challenge of educating children in a new digital literacy,” said Mario Eraso, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coordinator at Florida International University’s School of Computing and Information Sciences (FIU SCIS).

About Code/Art: Code/Art’s mission is to increase the number of girls studying computer science by delighting and inspiring them with the creative possibilities of computer programming. Code/Art uses art as an onramp to coding for girls in grades 4-12. Code/Art runs CodeHER clubs and community workshops where students learn how to write computer programs that generate art. Code/Art also hold events to highlight the need for more gender and racial diversity in Computer Science, including their annual community-wide event Code/Art Miami. For more, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

About Microsoft Cities Team:
Today, more than 80% of the country’s population lives in cities, and this number continues to increase. Rapid growth, increasing diversity, and the changing economy are bringing great opportunity and great challenges to City, and City is rising to meet them. To ensure we can address our biggest civic challenges and empower everyone to benefit from the opportunities the changing economy provides, we must collaborate across sectors to foster innovative, people-centered solutions. The Microsoft Cities team is committed to understanding local needs and opportunities, leveraging our resources, and working alongside local leaders to forge cross-sector partnerships that drive collective action and sustainable impact. Together, we can advance a future that is for everyone.