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Workshop participants build ‘art bridges’

“Art Bridges,” a two-day workshop for teachers in grades three though five, got off to a constructive start at The Studio in Troy on Tuesday with 22 teachers from the area participating.

The workshop is designed to teach art techniques that can be used as a bridge to other disciplines, including language arts, history, social studies, math and science.

Richard Metzger, executive director of the sponsoring Johnson Center for the Arts, said the Center partnered with the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts (AIEA) to offer the workshop to area classroom teachers.

“This workshop is made possible through a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and a grant from Sen. Wendell Mitchell,” Metzger said. “We are very appreciative of their support because workshops such as this are a bridge between the arts and other disciplines.”

The Art Bridges workshops are being offered on Tuesday to Wednesday and Thursday to Friday and will accommodate about 44 area teachers.

“What the teachers learn will be put into practice in the classroom beginning in the fall so, this year alone, hundreds of students will be impacted by the knowledge they have gained,” Metzger said.

“These workshops will have a far reaching effect for many years.”

The Art Bridges workshops are being led by Linda Dean, AIEA executive director, and designed and coordinated by Tara Sartorius, former curator of education at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

The teachers toured the Johnson Center for the Arts on Tuesday.

The tour was followed by a presentation by Sartorius in which she demonstrated the technique of “looking at art” and led an open ended discussion on “Healing the Soul” by Sandi D’Alessandro.

The painting was the winning entry in the Watercolor Society of Alabama’s 69th National Juried Exhibition at the Johnson Center. The exhibition runs through July 17.

The teachers participated in several hands-on activities.

They demonstrated their knowledge of “value,” the basic element of art, first in gray scale and then in color and made prints using sun sensitive paper and old photographs or textured items.

The teachers will work with photographs and, in conjunction with the upcoming “Through the Lens” photography exhibit, learn ways to use photographs across the curriculum.

Denise Barron, Troy Elementary School, said she is taking advantage of the workshop to learn ways to integrate art into her classroom.

“There’s just not enough time in the day to teach art so, if I can find ways to use art in the teaching of other subjects that is what I want to do,” she said.

“I’m very interested in the exhibition that will feature the Holman Johnson photographs and this workshop will give me the background I need to prepare my students for that exhibit.”

Tamara Herrington, Troy Elementary School, agreed integrating art into the curriculum will greatly benefit her students.

“I don’t have a background in art so I need direction in ‘bridging’ art and the other subjects,” she said.

“Already, we have ideas for projects that we can use in the classroom so this workshop is very beneficial to me and will be to my students.”