We believe that arts education is the best tool we can use to change the world for good. We aim to share the mind and heart of Jesus through every class we teach because we believe that in doing so, we can give people a hope and a future.
Most people are curious about the World Upside Down story and how we started with a dream in 2006. Founder, Joanna Puello, had just been offered a job at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to work for a small communications team that worked directly with the ambassador. Her kids were young, the job required a lot of weekend travel, and her husband was already touring heavily with his band. It was definitely the case of “dream job, wrong time”. But it was the first opportunity that Joanna had as a young wife and mother, to ask God and herself the question, “What is my purpose on this earth? What did you create me to do? If I could do anything in the world, what would it be?” The answer came quickly and clearly: arts education. Joanna turned down the embassy job and started a business plan for an after school program that could offer students classes in music, visual arts, dance, and theater–all under one roof. Investors were interested, plans started evolving, and then the economy crashed. The Puellos moved to Orlando, FL, and World Upside Down took a pause.
First Pilot Program
In 2010-11, while completing her Masters of Science in Instructional Design, Joanna piloted the concept of video curriculum in the arts–videos that teachers anywhere could integrate into their classrooms. Three schools and more than fifty students in the Dominican Republic participated in the pilot program, and the results were very favorable, and professors encouraged Joanna to pursue her World Upside Down after graduation.
World Upside Down (WUD) was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2013 with a mission to make arts education accessible and affordable to students K-12 around the world. We worked from 2013 – 2022 to create video curricula that could be integrated into a variety of classroom environments. Some of these projects we completed include:
A Better Way to a Brighter Future: The story of Siriwan, a fifth grader at a Title I school in Orlando, FL, who participated in our pilot project.
World Upside Down: Our first promo video.
PBS Kids Celebrity SteveSongs partnered with World Upside Down to create video curricula for elementary music teachers and kids.
Teaching Artist Jairo Puello partnered with World Upside Down to create video curricula for elementary music teachers and kids.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Show Kit: Drama Instructor Cindy Lowa partnered with World Upside Down to create video curricula for Middle School Drama teachers.
World Upside Down Arts Studio builds upon the World Upside Down brand and mission as a for-profit venture, owned and operated by Joanna and Jairo Puello. We opened doors on January 16, 2023, and we still partner with our nonprofit to offer scholarships to our students and some of our programs.