Celebrating Arts in Education Week

 Students at Hilltop Elementary working with Teaching Artist Malia Burkhart

Students at Hilltop Elementary working with Teaching Artist Malia Burkhart

This week, Americans for the Arts celebrated National Arts in Education Week. It’s a week dedicated to the importance and vitality creativity and the arts have in our schools. We are joined by organizations and communities all across the country to tell the transformative stories of arts education.

We took time to chat with some Minnesota Educators and Teaching Artist Stefon "Bionik" Taylor about what arts in the schools means to them and why it holds so much significance

“…As a kindergarten teacher, it is crucial to help teach young students about the importance of art and imagination. We complete guided discoveries to scaffold students with using scissors, glue stickers, glue bottles, paint, crayons, and markers. It also helps them focus on their fine motor skills… I enjoy seeing children grow and being challenged in their every day  lives. As a teacher, it is rewarding to know that I am a part of their journey.” - Chloe Sackett, Kindergarten teacher at Sunset Hill Elementary School

“I think art education is so important to help engage and foster that creativity. Creating art can be scary for kids because they want to do thing correct the first time, but art takes practice. Art is a good thing to work on perseverance… The crazy thing is that I became a teacher because I DIDN'T like school. I wanted to help children find the love for learning that I feel like I missed out on. Art and creativity is so much a part of people and I think we as educators can make that more of an importance that way more children will feel like their talent and creativity is valued in education.” - Chad Forslin, 2nd grade teacher at Concord Elementary

 Students recording a song with Stefon “Bionik” Taylor

Students recording a song with Stefon “Bionik” Taylor

“Having access to the arts in our children's education is essential for their development as individuals. Through art they explore their abilities, emotions, ideas and goals. Art helps us define our identities by challenging what we know and finding out what we like and don't like. Children in particular are so open to creative ideas, and to the possibility that art can be a part of their lives… As a grade-school student at Marcy Elementary, an artist named Aldo Maroni came to our class and showed us how to make sculptures out of pieces of wire. Not only was this a great creative experience, but I remember asking him if this was his job. He replied that being an artist was his job, and that it could be my job too if I had a passion for creating.

I did, and I have never forgotten those words.

- Teaching Artist Stefon “Bionik” Taylor