Young Audiences Arts for Learning’s Affili-Nation column spotlights the hardworking individuals across the YA network who make it possible for our affiliates to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. Our latest publication features Pam Walker from ArtsNow.
In November 2017, Young Audiences Arts for Learning announced the addition of its newest Affiliate: ArtsNow Learning. We spoke with Pam Walker, ArtsNow’s CEO and President, to discuss the organization’s approach to arts-integrated programs, Pam’s background in arts education, and what inspired ArtsNow to join the YA network.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Pam and her team are dedicated to facilitating arts integration in the lives of students throughout Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. With ongoing conversations surrounding the topic of engagement and rigor in education, Pam asserts that arts integration is the answer. She believes that when done at its best, arts integration is the perfect marriage between engagement and rigor. “The workforce of the future needs individuals with 21st century skills. These are skills that can be acquired in a rigorous and engaging way through the arts,” Pam said.
A recent example of ArtsNow’s arts-integrated programming in action is their unique district-wide partnership with Barrow County Schools. The new ArtsNow teacher pilot program provides arts integration across all content areas to students in the fourth through eighth grades. Through this program, 26 teachers receive on-site professional development in arts-integrated instruction while their students participate in approximately 20 arts-integrated experiences over the course of 10 visits to The Center for Innovative Teaching (CFIT).
Throughout our conversation, Pam emphasized the important role the arts play in systemically moving education forward with the 21st century skills that students need. Pam’s background as a music educator in public schools and her experience as a curriculum specialist, educational leader, and independent consultant lent her the expertise required to craft a progressive agenda at ArtsNow.
By joining the YA Network, Pam and her team hope to grow their programming and have a broader impact on teaching and learning in and through the arts. Young Audiences has a presence throughout the greater Atlanta area dating back to 1982. With ArtsNow reaching into neighboring states as well, the network is poised to reach more students than ever before in the southeastern United States.
At the end of the day, Pam believes that engaging students in meaningful learning experiences is the most important part of her job. When asked what the most rewarding part of working with ArtsNow is, she replied, “Every single day, I know my team is working with schools and that we’ve had a positive impact on the lives of teachers and students.” To Pam, the students are the focal point within the arts-in-education field, and it is our responsibility as a society to ensure they succeed and thrive in the 21st century.
To learn more about ArtsNow Learning, visit their website at http://artsnowlearning.org/.