The arts matter. National education research1 shows that the arts promote cooperation, cultural understanding and tolerance of different viewpoints. They boost communication skills, heighten empathy and lift self-esteem. The arts engage learners through auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic activities; students of all abilities — including those with learning difficulties, limited English proficiency or behavior problems — can experience success and fulfillment through experiences in the arts. In addition, the arts can strengthen understanding of other core subjects, including reading, writing, math, science, social studies and languages.
“Bringing art into the classroom offers teachers and students a chance to slow down, to approach content at a tangent instead of head-on, to linger with an idea long enough to manipulate it (write a poem, make a charcoal sketch, improvise being an armadillo), to use something known (such as the value of pi) in a new and entirely personal way. Although the creative moment often comes in a flash, it arrives through an accumulation of moments of slow learning. This is true for all learners: artists, teachers, students, perhaps even school boards.”
J.C Todd, Poet
NJSCA Distinguished Teaching Artist
The goal of an arts residency is to build a supportive, creative environment, in which teachers/staff and artists work together to offer learners new knowledge and experience in the arts. Residencies aim to teach the skills, techniques and concepts of the art form while building learners’ self-confidence and self-expression. And residencies can assist schools in meeting the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts and the federal No Child Left Behind act.
An effective residency program is flexible and collaborative. Artists work with teachers and other staff to design a residency that draws on the artist’s strengths and meets the needs of the site. By planning, consulting and working together, artists, educators and community members can design a residency that fosters joyful learning and has lasting impact on all participants. All effective residencies include a hands-on staff workshop led by the artist, in which teachers, support staff and administrators can practice new skills in the art form; exchange ideas and discuss ways to extend the residency through follow-up and cross-curriculum activities.
1 Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement (2006)