The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $15,000 to support the Arts Integration Institute this year. At the Arts Integration Institute presented by United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County from June 18-22, teachers from Wake County elementary schools will gain knowledge and inspiration about ways to weave the arts into all subject areas in order to create a richer and more lasting learning experience for their students. This year’s program is co-sponsored by Cary Arts Center, where it will be held.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. The grant for the Institute falls in the Art Works category—the NEA’s largest funding category supporting projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”
Since 2006 the Arts Integration Institute has given educators a hands-on opportunity to work with some of the finest teaching artists in the country to invigorate their classroom through arts integration. Mimi Herman, a Kennedy Center teaching artist and past Piedmont Laureate, and the staff at United Arts Council lead this successful and popular week-long workshop, which also fulfills one of the requirements of membership with the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. United Arts Council and Wake County Public School System have been Partners in Education members since 1993.
According to Eleanor Oakley, President and CEO of United Arts, “The Arts Integration Institute gives our teachers the resources to incorporate the arts into the curriculum in a meaningful way and inspire lifelong learners through the arts.”
Arts integration can be present in one classroom, but works best as a school wide initiative with teachers working together— a main focus at the Arts Integration Institute. In a school committed to arts integration, you may have a science class with students choreographing a dance using the law of inertia or the water cycle. And in language arts, classroom teachers work with arts teachers to create poetry through an original painting.
As part of the Institute, teachers receive individualized coaching and participate in periodic meetings during the school year to share best practices and brainstorm ways to deepen arts integration within their schools. In addition, United Arts Council offers Saturday arts integration workshops throughout the school year open to all teachers, whether or not they have participated in the summer Institute.
“The Institute for me just reminded me of how fun it is to teach, and we really have to put more time and effort into making those kinds of things happen when we have so much pressure to be rigidly academic,” according to one teacher.
At a time when there is so much stress on teachers, the Institute is an opportunity for them to reignite their creativity.
According to Mimi Herman, Institute director, "Magic is happening on a daily basis in classrooms all over Wake County. As director of the United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute, I get to see that magic throughout the year. I’d like to say the magic starts at the Arts Integration Institute, but the truth is that it begins when someone chooses to be a teacher—a job which takes passion, dedication, intelligence and creativity."
With the support of the NEA, United Arts is excited to facilitate another year of magic-making, which will kick off when we bring together talented and dedicated classroom teachers with a dynamic group of professional teaching artists this summer.