On Saturday, March 26, at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex on the University of Utah campus, 60 arts education, elementary education and fine arts students from across the state of Utah will converge for the second annual ArtsLINK Conference.
“Funding for arts experiences in public education have waned in recent history,” says Kelby McIntyre-Martinez, assistant dean for arts education and community engagement for the U’s College of Fine Arts. “However, because the value of those experiences is so rich both academically and personally for students, local educators and researchers have created ways to integrate those practices in classrooms in new ways. We are thrilled to be sharing this new knowledge with current and prospective teachers this weekend and shaping what happens in classrooms all across the state of Utah.”
Conference presenters this year include Penny Caywood, the artistic director for the U’s Youth Theatre Program, Paul Heath, lifelong SLC artist and visual art instructor, Rebecca Penerosa, doctoral candidate in music education and Jana Shumway, dance educator and artistic director for BYU’s Kinnect Dance Co.
ArksLink will provide workshop opportunities, professional development and hands-on learning experiences for students and teachers interested in the added benefits the arts can bring to pedagogy, curriculum development, classroom instruction, and student service. The afternoon portion of the conference will also provide participants opportunities to implement what they learned as they lead K-6 elementary students in the creation of a culminating performance. Youth from Tanner Dance, Youth Theatre at the U, the School of Music’s Preparatory Division and local Girl Scout troops will participate.
With increased advocacy for the arts and arts education gaining traction in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, ArtsLINK provides prospective and current educators an experiential look into how the arts creatively and pragmatically shapes teaching and learning for the better. And given the landscape of education as of recent, with increased pushes for more standardized testing and bottlenecked curriculum, the need for arts education in schools, both public and private, is greater than ever.