Founded in 2016, Code/Art is a Miami-based nonprofit whose mission is simple: to increase the number of girls studying computer science by delighting and inspiring them with the creative possibilities of computer programming.
The percentage of women in computer science has been dropping drastically since the early 1980s (37%) to today (18%). Code/Art’s custom curriculum addresses key reasons for this drop — and works to reverse it. Their program provides an early onramp to coding and uses code-based art projects to show girls how creative and fun coding can be.
Since winning the Inspire305 powered by United Way 2018 Grand Innovator award, Code/Art has been taking Miami by storm. With their $25,000 grant, they’ve been able to almost triple the number of coder clubs they offer in the community to eight, and serve over 100 girls weekly.
The initiative’s first Grand Innovator has since won additional grants, funded by Microsoft and The Knight Foundation, to further their mission. Microsoft invested $120,000 in the organization to help inspire girls from grades 4-12 to code, and The Knight Foundation matched that. With this, they can now offer their coding program free of charge to teachers from up to 60 Miami-Dade County public schools.
With this new grant, Code/Art’s goal is to reach over 15,000 girls and underrepresented minority students in the 2019-2020 school year. “[It’s] an early, fun and creative introduction to coding,” Amy Austin Renshaw, CEO and co-founder of Code/Art, said recently in the Miami Herald. “[It] will get kids excited about computer science and on the path to expanding the technical talent pool in South Florida.”
The program promotes early-access to computer science education for students in low-income districts and other schools with limited or no computer science classes. It levels the playing field for girls and minorities.
And that’s not all Code/Art does. Their annual South Florida-wide event, Code Art Miami, focuses on spotlighting the achievements of young female coders and raises awareness for the need of more women in computer science. The event recently hosted at the University of Miami included an exhibit of code-based art created by girls, a friendly coding competition, coding workshops, additional hands-on STEM activities, a speaker symposium and an awards ceremony.
“We’ve worked on websites, animation and interactive art so far,” says Kaylla Torres, lead instructor for the Code/Art Club at iPrep Academy. “It’s pretty amazing to see how advanced they are. I remember when I was around that age. I didn’t have the opportunities that they have now and I wasn’t even into coding. So to see them is very fulfilling.”
Girls can also sign up for one of Code/Art’s workshops. Currently, they offer video game development, mobile augmented reality, how to build your first website and creative coding in python.
For more information, visit Code/Art here.