Recently,  NHSAEF, ChathamArts, & NHS Arts Ed hosted a local Creative Conversation for National Arts & Humanities Month, and our friends from EbzB, Serena Ebhardt and David zum Brunnen, presented a great interactive program on Arts Integration. Students, teachers, administrators, and community members participated in a short example as Serena & David led us through the process their students use to create oral history programs during EbzB school residencies. These theatre arts residencies can be used to enhance social studies, language arts, history or civics classes—even math and sciences coursework.

Everyone came away with a better understanding of the challenges and rewards for this kind of well-planned collaboration. And clearly the skills that can be developed (e.g., critical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, planning, forecasting, hypothesizing, critiquing, brainstorming, associative, thinking, attribute listing, elaborating, sequencing, evaluating, etc.) have benefits for students in multiple disciplines. [see more photos here.]

Then last weekend I had the opportunity to see a really exciting example of “real world” arts integration.  I was part of a UNC alumni travel group that visited New Bern, NC where the town is celebrating their 300th Anniversary. A highlight of the trip was a special “backstage” tour of the brand new North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace, just two weeks prior to their Grand Opening, scheduled for October 21-24. Director Kay Williams graciously spent the day showing us this new jewel in the Department of Cultural Resources that has been more than ten years in the making. The facility includes the Pepsi Family Center for a high tech, hands-on experience, where students travel back in time to 1835 and teams work collaboratively to sail a ship, create a quilt, or write stories for the town paper.  The Regional History Museum follows the development of North Carolina from the perspective of its environmental history.  Graphics, interactive kiosks, and exhibits illuminate North Carolina’s culture of diverse peoples— European settlers, Native Americans, free and enslaved African Americans.  The complex also includes a “200 seat state-of-the-arts performing arts hall, exhibit and orientation theatres, a museum store, a waterfront café, and program and administrative space.”

This project is the result of the collaboration of a tremendous number of highly skilled, professionals and dedicated volunteers. Architects, exhibit and media designers, engineers and producers, environmental specialists called in to develop this former Superfund property —now a candidate for Silver level LEED certification. Also researchers, historians, education staff, curators, conservators, landscape architects, archeologists, horticulturalists, gardeners, historic interpreters, graphic designers, musicians, costumers, web designers, librarians, writers, fundraisers, and dozens more in business, state government, education, the arts, history and science.

Don’t miss this! As the opening weekend materials say—It’s about Time!



Moving Right Along…

For our next act, we’ve got an exciting program planned for October, National Arts and Humanities Month. It’s a collaborative effort and we hope to attract broad spectrum of the community …

Pittsboro, NC—NHS Arts Education Foundation, ChathamArts, and the NHS Arts Education department are partnering with Americans for the Arts to host an Emerging Leader Creative Conversation in Pittsboro on Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Creative Conversations bring together local emerging arts leaders and community members to discuss issues regarding the arts in their communities. Creative Conversations are part of National Arts and Humanities Month programs coordinated by Americans for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. To attend, register online at

The local Creative Conversation features an interactive discussion with special guests EbzB Productions’ Serena Ebhardt & David zum Brunnen. Teachers, parents, students and artists are invited to learn about Arts Integration—What it is, how it works, and how it benefits students and teachers in multiple disciplines. Recognized in the North Carolina Arts Council Touring Artist Directory and in the South Carolina Arts Commission AIE Roster of Approved Artists, EbzB artists have been trained by The Lincoln Center Institute and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to teach Arts in Education Workshops.

Creative Conversations are free and open to the public. Last year, more than 1,500 emerging arts leaders participated in 43 locally hosted Creative Conversations held throughout the country. An interactive Google map is available online at detailing where Creative Conversations are taking place. Visit the website after October to read summary reports of the events and learn what next steps to take in your community.

National Arts and Humanities Month is coordinated by Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. The month-long celebration has become the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. With 50 years of service, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. More information about Americans for the Arts, Creative Conversations, and National Arts and Humanities Month is available

EbzB Productions, Inc. develops original, touring, theatrical productions to promote integrity, self-discovery and positive transformation of individuals, artists, audiences, and communities. They believe that the performing arts encourages positive transformation through discoveries unveiled immediately and upon reflection. EbzB artists are dedicated to the promotion of dramatic art as a valuable educational tool. They are trained by The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts “Artists as Educators:  Planning Effective Workshops”, and The Lincoln Center Institute’s International Educator Program. EbzB Is also endorsed by the North Carolina Arts Council’s Touring Artists Directory. In addition to performances, EbzB Productions, Inc. is available for student workshops, residencies, and professional development seminars.  EbzB Productions – Your World Is Our Stage!

ChathamArts, the Chatham County Arts Council, is a not for profit organization that supports and presents the arts and artists in our community. They encourage community participation in the arts to enrich the quality of life of the county’s residents. ChathamArts fosters arts awareness and education, and encourages the use of arts as a tool for economic development.

The Northwood High School Arts Education Foundation (NHSAEF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization, is a community initiative dedicated to ensuring excellence in arts education by identfying, creating, and supporting programs that enrich learning, foster student achievement, and increase community involvement. Visit NHSAEF at

Celebrating Arts in Ed in My Neighborhood

Along with many, I’ve been celebrating the first National Arts in Education Week. As with any new project, there are a lot of details and more ideas than can be accomplished in a short amount of time. But here are some of the things that have gotten checked off my list.

  1. On Monday, we published NorthwoodArts 2009–2010: Celebrating a Gala Year. This is our annual report highlighting activities and accomplishments of the NHS arts education students and faculty. This accompanies a short video slide show of highlights we completed earlier in the summer.  We presented copies to the Chatham County Superintendent and School Board on Monday evening and posted the online version on our website.
  2. NHSAEF participated in Northwood’s annual Open House. Our local mayor issued a proclamation in conjunction with the national celebration and named it also Pittsboro Arts in Education Week. We shared the proclamation, the annual report, a calendar of upcoming events, met new students & parents, signed up new members and added folks to our listserv.
  3. [I spent Wednesday night as an arts student myself along with Duke students and community members, trying to master Creole for a Haitian anthem the Duke Chapel Choir has scheduled for Sunday.]
  4. On Thursday got some pix of the great banners NHS art students created for the school. Got copies of the annual report in the mail to our representatives in the State Legislature. Participated in a webinar by Americans for the Arts on their upcoming Creative Conversations in October before our ChathamArts Board Meeting.  NHSAEF will be a part of in this exciting initiative. Along with ChathamArts and the NHS arts department, we’re hosting a Creative Conversation at Northwood High School. Our friends from EbzB Productions, Serena Ebhardt and David zum Brunnen will lead an interactive discussion for teachers, students, artists, and community members on Arts Integration—What it is, how it works, and how it benefits students and teachers in all disciplines. In addition to being consummate  professional theatre performers, they have been trained by The Lincoln Center Institute and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to teach AIE Workshops. It’s going to be an exciting beginning to National Arts & Humanities Month.
  5. I’ve tweeted and re-tweeted, posted to Facebook, sent emails, worn my Arts Create Jobs button courtesy of Arts NC.
  6. I’m off the ballgame to see our Marching Chargers perform Amusements. Their first competition is next weekend at Pinecrest Band Fest.
  7. Marching Charger BandOh, and I’ll be collecting your recyclables (laptops, old cell phones, digital cameras, ink jet cartridges, hand held games, etc) at the game for our Arts Ed Fundraiser