National art institutions works with local educators, students

Area teachers and students had the opportunity to learn from two of the best artistic institutions last week.

Graphic and comics artist Richard Jenkins of the Kennedy Center for the Arts instructed various schools and venues throughout the week. On Feb. 16, Jenkins and two instructors from the Smithsonian Institution conducted workshops for about 70 Springfield City School teachers and Wittenberg University students.

MORE: Local artists to open home and bath store in downtown Springfield

The workshops were free for educators through grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Turner Foundation, and ran as part of the 2017-2018 Arts Alive! season, a local affiliate of the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program.

Arts Alive! partners include Clark State, the Springfield Arts Council, the Springfield City School District, Springfield Museum of Art and Wittenberg University.

Amy Korpieski, coordinator of ArtsAlive! and a Springfield Museum of Art educator, said it was the first time these two world-recognized arts organizations was here at the same time.

“There’s a big arts education need right now and we’re glad we can meet our schools’ needs,” she said. “I think it’s exciting we have a Kennedy Center teaching artist and representatives from the Smithsonian coming here to teach.”

READ: Springfield Museum of Art director named to state arts board

This season, the focus of Arts Alive! was on students with disabilities and helping reach them through visual mediums.

Jenkins is a graphic and comics artist who uses comics for a storytelling experience, in particular for students with disabilities.

He shared with educators how to use storytelling experiences to help reach students struggling with comprehension.

Jenkins was at area schools throughout the week and with students in Wittenberg’s Department of Education, Project Jericho and the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.

Jenkins worked with hundreds of educators and students, Korpieski estimates.

EXTRA: Diavolo to dazzle with innovative performance art in Springfield

While Feb. 16 was a day off school for students, about 70 educators gathered at Springfield High School to hear Jenkins talk about superhero-inspired art collage projects.

They were also at the Museum of Art to hear the Smithsonian Institute presenters Elizabeth Deines, Ashley Grady and Jennifer Brundage talk about using visual art for students with disabilities.

It integrating visual art into the curriculum that helps students understand not just stories, but math concepts and science. Korpieski estimates. Attendees will view numerous such examples in the museum’s collection.

“It’s a great thing for our teachers to be able to do,” Korpieski said. “We have excellent local resources and everybody is richer when we can tap into local and national best practices. People are working hard for our kids.”

About the Author