Press Room Search

Current Press Releases
Archived Press Releases

News Home Archived Press Releases

Archival Information
For recent information, please see Current Press Releases.

Getty to Partner with U.S. Department of Education, NEA, NASA, and the White House on Mars Millennium Project

Interdisciplinary Youth Initiative Emphasizes Education, Science, and the Arts

January 22, 1999

Washington, DC - First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on January 14 the launch of the Mars Millennium Project, an official White House Millennium Council youth initiative that will challenge kindergarten through high-school students to design the first community on Mars. The J. Paul Getty Trust is a partner in guiding the project, along with the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the White House Millennium Council. In addition, many other public and private organizations as well as leading corporations and businesses will participate.

In the interdisciplinary program, the students will work in teams with teachers, artists, scientists, engineers, and community groups. They will explore the culture, history, and traditions of their communities, along with local artistic, cultural, scientific, and social characteristics that might be exported to another planet. Drawing from known facts about environmental and scientific factors affecting living conditions on Mars, they will create a scientifically sound, livable, and aesthetic environment for a colony of 100 people there in the year 2030. They will develop the artistic and cultural aspects of the new community, including symbols, images, and cultural qualities that would distinguish and reflect it. 

The project will use an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning in the arts and sciences, following a curriculum that is linked to state and national academic standards in core subjects. The students will address such questions as:

What makes a good community?
What gives life meaning?
What will it take to survive?

Theodore R. Mitchell, Getty Vice President for Education and Strategic Initiatives, spoke following the announcement at the National Air & Space Museum. "The Getty is pleased to be a part of this program that weaves together the arts, sciences, and humanities in conceptualizing an ideal community for the future," he said. "We have a special interest in developing arts literacy in students - the knowledge and skills needed to respond to, perform, and create works of art. These skills are critical in order to think creatively, communicate effectively, and understand and function in the new media and information age."

Barry Munitz, Getty President and CEO, said "The Mars Millennium Project is closely aligned with the Getty’s mission to uplift arts in our schools and to inject throughout our programs the role of the visual arts in creating a more civil global society."

Participation kits comprised of lesson guides, resources, and tips for getting information and working with local professionals will be available in March for use in classrooms, libraries, museums, civic organizations, clubs, and community centers. Actual work on the project will begin in fall 1999. 

The students must submit a written report of what they learned when they researched their communities as part of the process of creating a "virtual registry" on the Internet. Each participant must also prepare a visual representation (drawing, physical model, videotape, or slides) of his or her proposed community and some scientific or aesthetic aspect of it. The visual representations will be exhibited in the students’ local communities at city halls, libraries, and museums, and on the Internet. 

The project will culminate in a national event acknowledging projects and participants in June 2000. More information about the project is available at or by calling Pacific Visions Communications at (310) 274-8787, extension 150.

# # #

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.