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The Creative Advantage Arts Education Goes Online: arts lessons for Seattle Public Schools, K-12

The Creative Advantage, a partnership between Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, is creating online arts lessons by local teaching artists for SPS students and families.  

A man demonstrating the splits.

The Creative Advantage Online Arts videos will be a series of approximately 10 to 15-minute arts educational programming segments and feature a variety of artistic disciplines for a range of grade levels, K-12. The online art videos are a collaboration with individual teaching artists, Seattle Public Schools, community partners and youth, as well as production partners NFFTY, Northwest Film Forum, and Reel Grrls Pro. The series will be available on SPS TV, KOMO 4, Seattle Public Library, SPS and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture YouTube channels, social media and websites.  

In March, SPS began providing video learning opportunities for K-8 students in several subjects, including English language arts, math, science, Washington state tribal history, and visual and performing arts. Videos are available on the SPS TV channel, KOMO 4, streaming on the SPS website, and posted on the SPS TV YouTube channel. In addition, SPS is providing Learning Packets with content from a variety of subject areas, including the arts, and distributed to families at the 26 food distribution sites, as well as King County and Seattle Housing Authority and McKinney-Vento locations.  

A teaching artist makes a collage: Make art with us.

“The videos from teachers and teaching artists are a way for students to know they are seen and missed. They provide a way for young people to express themselves, get inspired, and create by making art.  We are so grateful for this group of educators to share their passion and expertise in the arts and to make connections – even through the screen – this truly matters right now.” said by Gail Sehlhorst, Visual & Performing Arts Manager, SPS.”  

The Creative Advantage is working with 30 Teaching Artists (TA), prioritizing arts educators from the Roster of community arts partners who would have been teaching spring residencies in schools. Each TA is making approximately three short video lessons that can stand alone, but tie together thematically for a collective offering of approximately 90 to share broadly with students and families.  There is a diverse range of content including: African dance, percussion, Islamic geometric art, poetry, playwriting, singing, comics + zines, observational drawing + collage.  

“It is especially important for us to help provide families and students with arts education opportunities and let their imagination free. The students are our future and being able to express themselves in a variety of ways in light of our current situation is more important than ever,” said Randy Engstrom, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Director. 

The Creative Advantage Online Arts is part of the #SeattleTogether initiative which encompasses a number of programs and partners that will foster relationships, share resources, provide emotional support, strengthen social networks and nurture our community during this unprecedented moment in history.   

In partnership with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Arts & Culture, Office of Economic Development, Seattle Public Library, and the Mayor’s Innovation and Performance Team, #SeattleTogether is a community response plan aimed at supporting, uplifting, and celebrating the enormous goodwill, generosity, and empathy that has come from our Seattle community and neighborhoods in the wake of this COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Creative Advantage is a city-wide initiative to establish equitable access to arts education for each and every student in Seattle Public Schools. The Creative Advantage is made possible through a public-private partnership with Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Seattle Foundation, and community arts partners.