Focus on Arts: Arts education aids students in all areas of study

Focus on Arts: Arts education aids students in all areas of study

September 9th, 2012 by Kim Alan Wheetley in News


The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, located at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, provides innovative professional development and in arts education and integration for teachers and administrators to enhance teaching and deepen learning. SCEA's nationally recognized forums, workshops, on-site mentoring, and consulting services create exciting opportunities for personal and professional discovery, nurturing the artist within and fostering the artistry of teaching.

Chattanooga's commitment to the arts has helped lead a citywide revitalization, drawing artists and art lovers to take up residence, tourists to visit, and the Arts Education Partnership to convene a thought-provoking national forum addressing arts learning without borders.

Scientist and philosopher Isaac Newton observed: "We build too many walls and not enough bridges." Today's learners must embrace complexity, tolerate uncertainty, and manage tension. Habits of mind like these require an interdisciplinary culture of inquiry that fosters integrative thinking, nurtures collaboration, accepts alternative perspectives, and merges various methodologies.

The Fall 2012 National Arts Education Forum will feature collaborative initiatives where people think and work differently - bridging perceived and real boundaries, honoring differences, sharing resources, fusing scientific and artistic practices, invigorating behaviors, and celebrating creativity.

The incubator for these innovations is artistic integrative thinking. Artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci advised us: "Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Realize that everything connects to everything else."

Realizing the power of arts learning for our students will require an examination of our current K-college ecosystem to compare, contrast, and integrate the perspectives of many stakeholders.

A major goal of our new Imagine Chattanooga 20/20 creativity and culture plan is to "develop a delivery system that ensures all children and families in Hamilton County have access to high quality in-school and community-based arts and cultural education." While several of our schools have been recognized as exemplary models of arts education, there are extensive critical gaps in the sequential and scaffolded delivery of arts education throughout the district.

Establishing a comprehensive educational system that creates unbroken pathways of opportunity for arts learning will require communication among government and individuals, collaboration among cultural institutions and businesses, and dynamic partnerships among public and private sectors. But that is what we do - that is 'the Chattanooga Way'.

Kim Alan Wheetley, executive director, Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga