ArtsNow Learning (ArtsNow), the Atlanta-based affiliate of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, brought 46 educators and school leaders together for its first-ever virtual Foundational Seminar last month.
An annual, three-day professional learning event, ArtsNow’s Foundational Seminar invites teams of K-8 educators from across the Southeastern United States to explore arts-integrated, standards-aligned instructional strategies that promote student learning, innovation, and achievement. Seminar sessions are designed to equip classroom teachers and school leaders with the foundational tools and skills they need to successfully integrate the arts into their teaching practice across content areas.
This year’s Foundational Seminar, delivered via dynamic, Zoom-based virtual sessions, continued ArtsNow’s tradition of inspiring teachers to nurture creativity as they plan for the upcoming school year - whatever it may look like.
Scaling new challenges and uncharted territory, ArtsNow went above and beyond to ensure the active engagement and enrichment of all participants, even transforming its regional office in Winder, GA, into a production studio. The organization also distributed boxes of art supplies and materials to Seminar participants, enabling them to engage synchronously in hands-on arts integration lessons and guided activities from their homes and in small, socially-distanced groups.
Full-group sessions, which focused on the rationale and research behind arts integration, were complemented by targeted breakout sessions, which explored incorporating dance, music, theater, and visual arts into elementary and middle school curricula. Highlights ranged from a session modeling how teachers can engage a young learner’s sense of curiosity through music, to teaching grammar and punctuation through dance choreography.
Fresh off the heels of its successful virtual event, ArtsNow hopes to spread a message of optimism and metamorphosis, sharing with its followers on social media an inspiring quote from education expert Sir Ken Robinson: “We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.”
As part of ArtsNow’s SmART Literacy! program, the virtual Foundational Seminar was made possible through funding from the US Department of Education’s (USDOE) Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination Grants Competition (AAEDD). Launched in 2018, the SmART Literacy! initiative delivers professional development and job-embedded training in literacy-based arts integration.