Workshop Reflection from Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, Stuart Stotts

Arts Integration is a key concept for communities involved in the Any Given Child initiative. It is a way to meaningfully link the arts and curriculum, strengthening learning in both areas. In an arts integrated approach, students create art that demonstrates what they know through creative expression. They also receive specific training in the art form. Teachers learn, too, as they provide ongoing arts integrated instruction. 

I recently came to Indianapolis to lead three workshops to train teachers, arts administrators and teaching artists on the core ideas involved. All three groups participated enthusiastically in a model lesson followed by an exploration of the implications of arts integration for creativity, higher order thinking, and collaborative learning. I was delighted by the level of interest in this approach, and I hope that the workshops will provide a solid foundation for moving forward for students, teachers, and the community at-large.

About the Author
Stuart Stotts is a songwriter, storyteller, and author from Madison, Wisconsin. He has worked as a full-time performer since 1986 and gives more than 200 shows a year for kids, families, and adults around the Midwest, and sometimes farther. Mr. Stotts is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops for teachers, parents, and librarians. He has worked extensively as an artist-in-residence in elementary, middle, and high schools. He has also released several award-winning recordings and is the author of The Bookcase Ghost: A Collection of Wisconsin Ghost StoriesBooks in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of WisconsinCurly Lambeau and the Green Packers, and most recently We Shall Overcome: A Song that Changed the World.


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RECAP: Arts Integration Conference at the Kennedy Center, June 27-29

By Robin Houdek, arts educator

At the end of June, I attended The Kennedy Center’s Arts Integration Conference, Exploring an Approach to Teaching. It was by far one of the most inspiring and informative conferences I have ever attended. Before going, I didn’t know what to expect. What exactly is arts integration and how is different from arts as curriculum? Would it be useful for me in my classroom practice or was the purpose for me to bring back most of what I learned to share with colleagues?  

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Dispatch from the Kennedy Center Exchange, February 16–17

Three representatives of the Community Arts Team went to Washington, DC in February to attend the Any Given Child Exchange. Seventeen community teams were represented from Alaska to Florida, including first-year participants and a seventh-year participant. It was two days of lively and informative exchanges of ideas and best practices for arts integration in the schools. Our team included Dr. Yvonne Stokes, Director of Research & Evaluation at Indianapolis Public Schools; Gail Thomas Strong, Vice President for Community Engagement for WFYI-PBS; and myself as Director of Grant Services and Arts Education at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Yvonne, Gail, & Ernest We learned from one another’s encounters, and built relationships with our peers around the country. We heard from policy makers and funders such as Dr. Ayanna Hudson from the National Endowment for the Arts, and others from across the country. Exchange participants learned about new rubrics for measuring student success; and we heard examples of innovative approaches to professional development for teachers. My biggest takeaway from the Exchange was that Indianapolis is now preparing to enter the most intensive phase of this five-year program: the “Capacity Building” phase where we will engage teachers and parents, test new ideas, create plans, link partners, and begin fundraising, too. I am so grateful to the Kennedy Center for bringing this opportunity to Indianapolis, and to the Arts Council of Indianapolis for asking me to be part of creating this change. 

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

Posted in Kennedy Center News

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Arts Council Launches National Partnership with Kennedy Center at Start with Art


Arts Council Launches National Partnership with Kennedy Center at Start with Art
On September 4, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Indianapolis, Indiana as the 18th site for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program is led by the Arts Council of Indianapolis in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools, the Office of the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, and facilitated by the Kennedy Center. The announcement was made on September 4 before an audience of 1,000 local arts and business leaders at the Arts Council’s Start with Art luncheon. 

Posted in Kennedy Center News

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