The Role of the Arts in Reopening Schools

This sharing session is a facilitated conversation on the strategies different communities are taking to maximize the role of the arts in reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilitators and participants share and listen to become stronger actors in their respective communities. Facilitators focus on developing answers to the following questions:

  • What are the issues that teachers, schools and systems face with school reopenings?
  • In what ways, if any, can the arts address each of those concerns?
  • What actions do arts education educators, leaders and administrators need to take in order to ensure that communities are maximizing the positive benefits of the arts and creative teaching in these circumstances?

Presenter Bios

Jackson Knowles has worked for 20 years at the intersections of arts, education, equity and community. At MINDPOP she collaborates with artists, teachers and school administrators to bring systems-level educational change to life. At New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, she led programs that connected the conservatory with its broader community, including a student-led food truck and theater and dance projects centered on local civil rights history. She began her career performing with Rosy Simas Danse and working at MN Citizens for the Arts and the Guthrie Theater.

Brent Hasty serves as the executive director of MINDPOP, a solutions-based organization that supports communities in the design and implementation of systemwide Creative Learning Initiatives to increase access to the arts and leverage the benefits of creative learning. Examples such as the Creative Learning Initiative in Austin, Texas, and mindALIGNED in New Jersey, represent successful and scalable models of collective impact that have increased access, participation and impact of the arts, community partnerships and creative learning across large school systems.

Deborah Lugo is the executive director of Arts Connect Houston, a citywide collective impact coalition working to ensure equity of arts education and creative learning for public school students. Through her work, Deborah facilitates strategic alignments and opportunities to expand access to arts education for students throughout the Houston ISD. Deborah, originally from Puerto Rico, holds a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Florida International University.

Access additional 2020 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits