“Learning Through Cultural Art”: A PD Experience at WheatonArts
Lisa Confora, Art Teacher
During the spring, I signed up for a lecture/presentation suggested by my colleague, on the Arts and Culture of Haiti, through the Folk Life program at Wheaton Arts Center. Entering the session I knew little to nothing about Haiti, other than the word Vodou, they share an island with the Dominican Republic, and they recently had a devastating earthquake, but that was the extent.
Being an Art Teacher of 16 years, I am very interested in learning about Haitian culture and the Vodou arts that are so integral to it. I find cultural art to be the most inspiring for my students. Signing up for this was the best choice I could have made. Iveta Pirgova was our instructor for this PD training. She was so full of knowledge and enthusiasm that it became clear just how little I really knew of this beautiful culture and of the Haitian people. Viewing the slides of the art, dance, costume, symbols, & history, inspired me and I wanted to know more and share it with all of my art teacher friends. At the end of the presentations we discussed many ideas we could turn into special projects for our students.
I feel that as art teachers, we have a special opportunity to provide a constant flow of new knowledge to our students. We can pick and choose what we want to bring into the classroom. In doing so our students will expand their minds, grow, become tolerant, and be able to pass on their new learned knowledge to family and friends.
I fully recommend that if you are looking for inspiration or just to learn more about other cultures to attend PD programs offered at WheatonArts, it is well worth the time.