How Thea's Arts Reconstruction Enhances Arts Education in Arkansas
Beginning in 2014, Thea Foundation initiated partnerships with cultural institutions and arts organizations to amplify existing arts programming in schools. Currently, Arts Reconstruction is our focused effort to help teachers receive professional development. By providing training in new visual arts mediums, Thea Foundation helps enhance lesson planning and subsequently, gives students further exposure to ways in which they can create. In conjunction with the professional development, Thea also provides all necessary supplies to execute the new medium in each participating teacher's classroom.
In the summer of 2019, we partnered with UA Little Rock’s Windgate Center for Art + Design to host over a dozen Arkansas public high school teachers for a week-long training in cyanotype, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.
Thea Foundation then funded $45,000 in supplies for the Arts Reconstruction teachers to implement the new visual arts medium in their classrooms beginning in the fall semester of 2019. We were able to visit schools to see cyanotype being discovered by students during the 2019-20 school year. Classroom photos from Bryant High School can be viewed below.
Prior to school closings in the spring semester, we visited Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School where two art teachers who received professional development through Arts Reconstruction program teach. With permission and support from the school's administration, the teachers were allowed to provide a two-day intensive training workshop on cyanotype for students. We witnessed every student being incredibly engaged and grateful to discover the new medium.
"Arts Reconstruction gave me a tremendously enriching education in cyanotype printmaking along with a wealth of supplies to teach cyanotype to my students," said Matt Teravest, one of the participating teachers at Parkview. "Thea Foundation is, in my opinion, the greatest beneficiary fine art teachers in Arkansas have. By having access to funding for supplies, educational offerings for students and teachers, and even the implementation of entire programs, like orchestra classes, teachers and students have benefited far more than most people probably realize. So many things have been made possible by Thea that would have been flatly impossible otherwise."
Below are photos from our visit during the cyanotype workshop at Parkview.
From using natural elements such as flowers and leaves to exploring textures like lace, students are given free reign to incorporate various objects into their cyanotype prints. They then are able to learn process components, including the chemicals needed and timing in the sunlight for the print. Thea Foundation looks forward to seeing the supplies and equipment for this medium used for years to come, inspiring more and more students to think creatively for their own execution of cyanotype.
Moving Forward: Summer 2020 Arts Reconstruction
For the 2020 summer professional development, our Arts Reconstruction teachers will participate in SCAD’s digital Education Forum in late June. Thea Foundation will also utilize available budget to fund supplies needed to enhance curriculum for the 2020-21 school year after individual assessments with each participating teacher. To donate in support of Thea Foundation's mission and statewide programs, visit our donation page.