Cultural education reaching beyond classrooms

Apr 17, 2017

Cultural learning is an important part of a student’s education. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says, recently, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and New York State Board of Regents named a new deputy commissioner of cultural education. 

“In essence, it’s our job to embed a cultural education in every New Yorker's lives in one way or another,” remarked Mark Schaming, deputy commissioner of Cultural Education.

Schaming was appointed to serve and oversee the Office of Cultural Education. Schaming has a local connection. He's not from this region, but is a 1979 graduate of Buffalo State.

Schaming has more than 20-years of cultural education experience in his past position with the State Museum.

“The institutions within Cultural Education – the State Museum, State Library, New York State, Summer School for the Arts and Public Broadcasting – education television archives and State Library,” Schaming noted. He stressed the importance of utilizing hundreds of millions of artifacts, documents and publications to assist in learning.

“We’re a center for research for all things New York and we’re really, as a unified institution – these five pieces within one – the largest institution of its kind anywhere within a state education department. New York has a tremendous history. We’ve got assets, not only here in Albany at the institutions here, but across the state,” explained Schaming.

A Regents Advisory Council for Museums reaches out statewide. Schaming told WBFO News that is how it helps students right here in Buffalo.

"In essence, it’s our job to embed a cultural education in every New Yorkers lives in one way or another,” remarked Mark Schaming, deputy commissioner of Cultural Education.

“The Burchfield Penney Art Center is one of our collaborators. We just did a program at a local library about World War I and we sent historians across the state. Big emphasis is to get out to the schools and just encourage them to turn to their local library and museum and come and use documents as part of their education life as much as possible,” Schaming said. 

The Office of Cultural Education also hosts the popular New York Summer School for the Arts program. 400 students across the state attend each summer at several locations. 

Schaming said the goal the Cultural Education office is to increase its reach and enhance collaborations.