ArtBridges gets high marks from teachers

Published 6:48 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Fifty teachers from the Pike County, Troy City and area private schools attended a two-day ArtBridges teacher workshop at The Studio in Troy on Tuesday and Wednesday. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Troy Pike Cultural Arts Center and the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts.

“We have offered this art workshop for teachers since 2008 and each year we have more teachers participate,” said Richard Metzger, arts center executive director. “We are very excited and encouraged by the number of participants this summer and their evaluations of the workshop. All of the evaluations were extremely positive. The teachers said they now have the know-how, the confidence and the tools to begin implementing art across the curriculum.”

Metzger said the workshop was not designed for the teachers to “paint picture.”

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“ArtBridges teaches teachers how to use the arts to enhance other subjects and, from everything that I’ve read (evaluations) and heard, this workshop was very successful in meeting its goals.”

The workshop was taught by several presenters and led by Tara Sartorius, former curator of education at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

Sartorius said, too, that the teachers who attended ArtBridges responded positively to what they had learned and experienced.

“The evaluations were so positive,” she said. “They actually ‘got it.’ When teachers do ‘get it’ that art can be incorporated into the different areas of study, then they are ready to take it a step further.”

The next step is into the classroom.

“There is no course of study as to how to put it all together,” Sartorius said. “What we hope the teachers will learn is how to double up and make time for art in the classroom and do so efficiently.”

The workshop was opened to teachers in the lower elementary grades for the first time this summer.

“And, they were thrilled to be here,” Sartorius said. “Now, incorporating art into the curriculum is not frightening to them.”

Sartorius said art is important because art can be applied throughout the curriculum and enhance the quality of life for people of all ages and all walks of life throughout life.

“Art rounds us out,” she said. “Knowledge and appreciation of art make us a part of a global community and it expands our horizons.”

Metzger said he is proud of the staff and board of the Troy Pike Cultural Arts Center for recognizing the importance and value of art in the classroom and, for providing an opportunity for teachers to expand their knowledge of how art can be used in the different subject areas.

“The Troy Pike Cultural Arts Center is building a strong foundation in the arts,” Metzger said. “The arts center hosts wonderful art exhibitions and programs but what I hope that we are remember most for is what we give back to the community. The ArtBridges educational program is one way that we do that.”