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!