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The Creative Advantage Celebratory Tour

by Tina LaPadula

Four masked people stand in a classroom, one of them stands behind a guitar.
Jack Straw teaching artists Sierra Nelson and Tomo Nakayama and 2nd grade teacher Ms Allphin at Lowell Elementary

Just prior to the end of the 22/23 school year, we went on a “Creative Advantage Celebratory Tour” to observe teaching artists from The Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster and to talk with principals about arts education at their schools.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Visual + Performing Arts Manager Gail Sehlhorst and Arts Education Manager for ARTS, Tina LaPadula led the school visits highlighting elementary and middle school residencies in a variety of artistic disciplines.

Powerful arts learning was evident as students crawled under desks during collective playwriting; explored their cultural identities through symbols for T-shirt designs; and reflected metaphorically about their feelings and literature through poetry and songwriting.

Tour stops included:

  • Queen Anne Elementary with Principal Roy and teaching artist Gillian Jorgensen from Book-It Repertory Theatre
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary with Principal Nesbitt and Arts Corps teaching artist Greg Thornton
  • Lowell Elementary with Principal Talbot and teaching artists Sierra Nelson and Tomo Nakayama from Jack Straw Cultural Center
  • ORCA K-8 with Dr. Luster and teaching artists Geoff Larson, Megan Krants, and Stephanie Anne Johnson from Bushwick Northwest’s Songwriting Through Literature Education / STYLE Program.