The mission of The Walt Disney Family Museum Animation Academy is to provide comprehensive training in art, animation, and storytelling. Inspired by Walt Disney’s brilliance in fostering creative talent, the museum is committed to supporting the next generation of creative talent, with a focus on reaching marginalized individuals and communities. Our intention is to expand the reach of the program, encouraging creative and diverse voices to shape the future of the animation and film industry.
May 2023 Update
Since its founding, The Walt Disney Family Museum has increased its commitment to providing art and animation instruction with a focused emphasis on serving marginalized communities. In addition to offering on-site and virtual classes, workshops, and School Experiences, our animation instructors frequently travel to Title I partner schools to provide on-campus instruction to students.
As an expansion of the Animation Academy initiative, the museum established a Certificate Program for young people in the Bay Area in partnership with Eastside College Preparatory School—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and independent high school committed to opening doors for students historically underrepresented in higher education. As a pillar of the East Palo Alto community, Eastside serves students who are primarily Latino, Black, and Pacific Islander, providing tuition-free education to all.
In the first year of our Animation Academy Certificate Program, The Walt Disney Family Museum provided a year-long, six-hour-per-week college preparatory animation intensive to a group of Eastside students, at no cost to them. This course focused on the 12 principles of animation, as well as drawing fundamentals, character and background design, and storytelling. Led by the museum’s Director of Education Travis Lacina with special presentations and mentorship from guest speakers—including industry professionals from Disney, Pixar, CalArts, Meta, and Tippett Studio—the program encourages young artists to explore their creativity, providing them with the knowledge and tools to hone their skills, and ultimately, the opportunity to pursue a career in art, film, and animation.
In 2022, the Animation Academy expanded its partnership with Eastside College Preparatory School to offer not only the first-year Certificate Program, but also a second-year Certificate Program for continuing students. Second year students are given the opportunity to advance their skills and learn more advanced animation and filmmaking concepts. The Certificate Program also assists Eastside students in developing and tailoring their artwork and animated short films into a cohesive portfolio to present for college admission. In 2022, Museum Education Assistant Marlon Baez, who is certified to teach animation in Spanish, joined the Certificate Program instruction team.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Animation Academy is also partnering with EPACENTER, a creative youth development organization in East Palo Alto, to further expand the museum’s animation and film instruction to youth across the Bay Area. EPACENTER offers culturally responsive instruction in the digital, visual, literary, and performing arts disciplines during the school day, after-school, and during the summer. It also engages youth in organizational decision-making and key leadership roles and links youth to meaningful summer employment opportunities, colleges, and careers. Museum instructors will be leading both in-person and virtual classes for youth from EPACENTER’s state-of-the-art digital media lab.
We welcome our museum community to join in our mission of supporting young creative talent with aspirations in art and animation and providing education in the arts for all.
To learn more about the Animation Certificate Program at Eastside or to apply to the program starting in the Fall, please contact Travis Lacina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about how to get involved with the Animation Academy, please contact Emily Vann Green, Development and Community Engagement Manager, at email@example.com.