Piece of work: ArtBridges Workshop attracts teachers from four counties
Published 4:00 am Friday, July 24, 2015
The 2015 Tony Scott ArtBridges Teacher Workshop is underway at The Studio in downtown Troy and will continue today with teachers from Pike, Coffee, Montgomery and Mobile counties in attendance.
Vicki Pritchett, executive director of the hosting Johnson Center for the Arts, said this is the first year the teacher workshop has been offered to teachers outside the county.
“We have 30 teachers and that will impact more than 5,000 students and their families,” she said.
The Johnson Center for the Arts was asked by the Alabama Arts Education Association to open the workshop up to teachers outside the county.
“A lot of grant money is being awarded to schools in Alabama in an effort to introduce or bring back art into our schools,” Pritchett sad. “There are many areas where schools are underserved in the area of art.”
Pritchett said money is being released by different agencies and organizations to bring the arts back into the schools.
“In an effort to do that, we are teaming with the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Alliance for Art Education,” Pritchett said. “And we have gotten grants from the Alabama License Tag program, from the Walmart Distribution Center, Wells Fargo and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. All of these agencies realize the importance of the arts in education and are willing to support the Johnson Center’s efforts to bring outstanding artists and art educators to teach our teachers.”
Pritchett said an original goal of the Johnson Center was to bring the arts into the schools.
“We realized that the best way to reach the students was through the teachers,” she said. “We wanted to be involved in teaching the teachers how to incorporate the arts into the core curriculum and, by teaching them, we would be able to reach multiple students.”
Pritchett said from the inception the Johnson Center’s idea was enrichment through education in the arts.
“The Alabama Department of Education has given its support to the ArtBridges Workshop by offering personal development hours to the teachers who participate,” she said.
Each year the Tony Scott ArtBridges Workshop is led by outstanding artists. This year’s teaching artists are Bobby Horton, a renowned musician, songwriter and performer, and Darrell Ezekiel, an award-winning artist who uses old quilts to create artwork that is used in storytelling.
“Darrell Ezekiel had the teachers totally involved in an art project using quilt-like designs framed in a cutout design,” Pritchett said. “This project could effectively be used in science, history and English or literature classes.”
Bobby Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and music historian and had the teachers smiling, clapping and totally into the music “lesson.”
“Bobby Horton was excellent in demonstrating how music is the common thread that binds us all,” Pritchett said. “People respond to music and art in an emotional way. Music and art are a part of who we are. Music is a part of our history and our heritage. It tells us who we are and has a significant place in the arts.”