“VSA Minnesota’s Teaching & Learning Arts Bridge,” final in-service, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Golden Valley

several adults gathered at a table with computers, papers and refreshments. A large screen behind them shows other adults In person or by video chat via ‘Skype’ or ‘Face Time', Teaching Artists and Host Teacher Teams shared about their experience in VSA Minnesota’s Arts Bridge Project during a final in-service in partnership with the Perpich Center for Arts Education last week. Thanks to tools from the Artful Handbook, teams had an insightful conversation about their teaching and learning experience during their arts-integrated residency.

A total of 7 teachers , 7 teaching artists, and 6 teaching artist assistants received one and half days of professional development led by Perpich Center for Arts Education staff. Teams designed an arts-integrated residency, tied to curriculum and address selected elements of the Minnesota Academic Standards with assistance from PCAE staff. Using instructional planning tools for collaborative planning, Teams established clear instructional goals, developed engaging activities, made plans to support and enhance sequential learning, aligned instruction with standards and benchmarks, and determined assessment outcomes.

VSA Minnesota’s Teaching & Learning Arts Bridge is a project to build skills through the Arts in students with disabilities and collaborative skills in Teaching Artists and Teachers in Special Education settings. This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Artist-in-Residence Site:  Transition Plus
403 Jackson St. Suite 206, Anoka (Con. Dist. 6)

Collaborating Teacher: Terri Breems
Teaching Artists: Anne Krocak; April Conlee, Assistant
Art Form: Visual Arts

Project Overview
Two groups of students worked collaboratively to design and create a handmade clay tile, found object, mosaic wall-hanging that reflects individuals’ creativity and their views about community. With the help of artist in residence Anne Krocak, students dreamed up the imagery to use to express those elements, then meticulously fixed translucent beads, metal pieces, glass tiles and clay figures on mesh canvases. Scenes describing favorite parts of school include images depicting self-awareness, physical fitness, cooking, budgeting, mental health awareness and more. The two one-of-a-kind mosaics will soon be on display in two Anoka-Hennepin School District buildings. Students had a final unvieling of one of them for the school and community during student appreciation day.

Project Highlights
“The students really responded well to the project activities and the process. The class was organized in a way that supported learning and the students then were always excited to see the next step in the project. Finished projects turned out beautifully, students had a better understanding of public art and their ability to work as an artist contributing to their community.” – Anne Krocak, Artist.

“These students have not only learned how to create a mosaic and all the artistry that goes in to it, they’ve also learned different job skills, how to do something for the community, how to work together, have their voice heard. This has helped them cope with stress and anxiety, they’ve explored leisure time activities and they’ve been exposed to different opportunities within art and art therapies. These students are engaged and they’re excited about it and they’ve learned so much.” – Terri Breems, Teacher.