Expand educational opportunities, foster creativity and enhance academic experiences for youth in our communities.
Finding new ways to incorporate the arts into education has become increasingly difficult due to decreased funding for the arts in school as well as new teachers leaving the profession.
A new and innovative partnership between the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the Paine Art Center and Gardens called ArtsCore recognizes the power of the arts to engage and strengthen the work of both teachers and learners in all disciplines as well as the need for early career support for teachers.
ArtsCore pairs art (visual, music, drama, dance, etc.) teachers with teachers of other subjects to create dynamic, engaging and memorable lessons that allow students to process and express what they’ve learned in both subject areas.
“Arts integration is not a new concept,” says Wendy Strauch-Nelson, ArtsCore co-founder and art education professor at UW Oshkosh, “but it is regaining popularity because of research that shows its effectiveness. So much of the brain research says that the more we incorporate things like movement and drawing and painting and music and emotions, the better children learn and the better they retain what they learn.”
One of the key reasons for the creation of the ArtsCore partnership was the realization that early career teachers, particularly teachers in the arts, often left the profession after only a year or two because they felt expendable and disconnected from their peers. Often art and music teachers serve two or more buildings, and they don’t have a sense that they belong to a community of professional as they travel from building to building. “By pairing arts teachers with teachers in other subjects, arts integration provides a way to strengthen art teachers’ connections to their peers in the school they serve,” says Mary Pleiss, ArtsCore Coordinator at the Paine Art Center and Gardens.
Teams of teachers from area schools participate in a year-long series of professional development days, which take place in the new “studio” at the Paine, to learn about and put into practice a wide variety of arts integration practices. These teachers then have the option to apply for the ArtsCore Educators in Residence program to design and carry-out large-scale arts integration projects to further their own learning and contribute to the environment of the Paine.
“I’m a proud veteran teacher in my 21st year of teaching for the Oshkosh Area School District. ArtsCore is a fantastic avenue to work with fellow teachers; we learn from and with each other. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and into a world of hands-on meaningful and memorable learning.” – Tara Feiter, 6th grade literacy and social studies teacher at Merrill Middle School