Fall 2010 / Spring 2011

Teaching Artists

A photo essay by Andrew Nelles ('08).

This innovative course is the height of hands-on learning. “Teaching Artist in the Schools,” a course in the Early Childhood Education program in the Education Department, allows students to participate in community development and social change. Now in its third year, the course not only provides students with an understanding of the theory of arts education, it gives them a platform to practice what they learn—and what they’re passionate about: art. 

The students agree. “I feel I am making a difference along with doing what I love,” says Katelin Secor, a junior studying Theatre who took the course this Spring. Says Leigh Reisberg, a senior in Interdisciplinary Arts, “This class has made me want to be more creative in every kind of art making and teaching.”

The course began under the direction of the late Dr. Carol Ann Stowe, the founding and longtime director of the Early Childhood Education program; along with Cynthia Weiss of the Center for Community Arts and Partnerships (CCAP); and Brian Shaw and Dennis Wise, both faculty members in the Theatre Department. It’s been such a success that the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is launching a Teaching Artist in the Schools minor in the Fall of 2011.

Jamie Thome is the adjunct instructor in ECE who taught the class last Spring and accompanied the class to Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts, where these photographs were taken. She believes her students clearly recognized the importance of what they were doing that day. “I could see the excitement on all my students’ faces,” she says. “They understood all the possibilities unfold before their eyes when they saw teaching artists in practice.”

The images that follow are a testament to those possibilities—those moments where the students’ engagement and joy radiates and is transferred to the next generation.