by Tina LaPadula, Arts Education Project Manager, photos by Ground Zero
On August 18, more than 125 community arts educators and teachers flooded into the Seattle Art Museum to attend The Creative Advantage Summer Institute.
Seattle JazzEd youth performers blared big band standards to greet the attendees, and a full day of arts learning began.
Russell Brooks and Nicole Suyama from Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre opened the main program in the Plestcheef Auditorium, reminding all guests of our responsibility to the land we’re on, the native people of this area, and the 2015 passage of Senate Bill 5433 requiring the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State or other tribally-developed curriculum be taught in all schools.
Youth Poet Laureate Sah Pham recited a powerful piece created just for the occasion, encouraging all the educators to remember what’s at stake in our classrooms. An excerpt:
I am grateful for you
Teachers, educators, shipmakers
lifeguarding without limitation
drifting us onto better days
boats big enough to carry our dreams to shore
It is because of this port language,
That I arrive at this pier
Where the same hands before me held nothing
The boatful of stars I hold are burning
So that when I look up
I see that I have everything
Thank you, Cảm ơn
for this artful education.
I could not have held up this sky
Long enough to paint it blue.
Acting Director of the Office of Arts & Culture royal alley-barnes and Seattle Public Schools Executive Director of Partnerships and Engagement James Bush, lauded the accomplishments and progress of The Creative Advantage in it’s 10 year history, and reaffirmed their institutional commitments to this important city-wide arts education partnership.
Other highlights of the day included: a panel and interactive workshops in theatre, dance visual art and music with representatives from representatives of Red Eagle Soaring, The Rhapsody Project, Spectrum Dance and Seattle Art Museum; a picnic lunch on the steps while student performers The Rhapsody Songsters crooned folk and blues tunes; an Everybody Dance salsa lesson with Spectrum’s Stephanie Guiland with live accompaniment from Big World Breaks’ Aaron Walker Loud. Documentation of the day and arts advocacy interviews with Ground Zero student journalists.
The Creative Advantage Implementation Team is beyond grateful to kick off the school year in the company of all the arts leaders who collaborated and attended, making the day a rousing success. Here’s what participants had to say:
“Every part of the Institute was centered on JOY and inclusion which also invigorated me to take that to my students this year.”
“It was overall just amazing to be in a room with other arts educators and art education champions. I feel so energized and excited after the institute!”
“The movement workshop reminded me how important it is to bring the physical into a day of learning. The music workshop gave me a wonderful framework for exploring my own identity as well some tools for helping my students explore theirs.”
“I came wondering about the state of arts learning in SPS and hoping to connect with local teaching artists. So, I was really glad to hear the info in the speaking program and for the networking opportunities. The workshops were delightful…I came out feeling refreshed and inspired.”