The Pennsylvania Council for the Arts sponsors an Arts in Education Program through which I have become increasingly involved with learning through the arts. Grants from the council have enabled me to experience the thrill of sharing my love of creating with students of all kinds. Schools and other organizations have invited me to spend some time as their artist in residence. Most often we create a site specific work of art as the culmination of our adventure together.
I enjoy and appreciate these spells of extroversion. They remind me of what I love most about making art as I encourage students to take risks and do what only they can do. My primary goal is to hold a safe place for exploration and discovery. When a group completes a large mural, banner system, installation or weaving, the experience goes beyond the beautiful product and the learning of the artistic technique; the artwork serves as the vehicle through which we explore our individual strengths and it invites us to participate in the adventure and challenge of working together toward a common goal.
Recently, I have become involved in an exciting Teacher Artist Partnership (TAP) program in which the artist teams with a classroom teacher to teach academic subjects through the arts. The challenge of designing such a program is a creative process akin to making art! It is my belief that the arts open minds and can teach all subjects. Instructing through creating is a way of connecting with learners of all types. I see proof of this in every residency. It is often the student who is reluctant in the traditional classroom, that becomes the shining star of our projects. I am convinced of the importance of the arts in education and at this time when their presence in traditional schools is shrinking, I feel called to this adventure and grateful to be a part of it.
To learn more about this program, visit the Arts in Education website.