Art Works Blog

Summer School . . . for Educators

Chicago, Illinois

Photo courtesy NEA staff

Yesterday, more than 50 experts in education, arts, government, and business convened in Chicago for the NEA?s 2010 Education Leaders Institute (ELI). Dream teams competed to win a spot to participate in a design studio for public education that focuses on the role of arts in children?s lives and development. Over four days, teams will create models for a new generation of learners. This is the fifth NEA ELI to convene, and we've now served teams from 23 states and the District of Columbia.

This year we have teams from Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington. Each state team targets an education issue,  which can range from middle school success to 21st century learning skills to linking arts and emerging media to school innovation. Teams work with artists who use visual representation as a tool for understanding. Each team is also partnered with a coach well-versed in moving a group through a series of brainstorms, just as a critique moves a developing artist to improve their practice. Finally, a series of speakers provide provocative talks on the future of learning, the role of imagination and creativity in cognition, how emerging media is shaping our children?s world, and how art and design can be used as a tool in building robust and healthy learning communities.

By designing a structure that urges participants to be creative, artistic practice is used as a research tool that can improve public education. State teams then develop and expand their models when they return home.

We're grateful to partner with the Illinois Arts Council and the Illinois Humanities Council to enrich the national conversation on the future of learning, a future rich in arts opportunities for our children. This program envisions a future that provides children with many entry-points to the arts, with skills to pursue excellence in the arts, and opportunities to creatively build a world rich where these young artists and artistically-minded youth might reach out to make impossible feats possible.

Stay tuned---we'll have lots more to share on the Art Works blog about the 2010 ELI over the coming weeks . . .

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