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BYU Arts Bravo

BYU Students Help Teachers Bridge Gap of Arts Integration

BYU art education students, advised by faculty mentors, enter the classrooms of elementary teachers across Utah to better integrate arts with public schools’ core curriculum.

The Beverly Taylor Sorenson BYU Arts Partnership places art specialists in over 100 schools throughout Utah. The BYU Arts Bridge functions as part of the Arts Partnership. The program provides local elementary school teachers and students, and art education students from BYU the opportunity to integrate the dance, visual arts, drama and music into core curriculum.

In March, BYU Arts Partnership celebrated its successes at a luncheon in the Wilkinson Center on campus. Program directors, teachers and participating art education students shared their experiences with and vision for the partnership.

“Right now we have this miracle in Utah. Because of Beverly Taylor Sorenson there is more money going into professional development in the arts and arts integration than any other curriculum,” said Cally Flox, partnership program director.

Douglass Allen, program facilitator for Arts Bridge, is excited about the outreach the program has been making.

“We impact about 702 kids through your classes,” Allen said to a group of Arts Bridge participants. “Teachers would say, ‘I also did what I learned with another grade level.’ In actuality, we probably impact a lot more children in those schools.”

The program accepts 25 BYU students, or arts scholars, every semester. Each scholar must be an expert in dance, drama, music or visual arts. Holly Arbon worked as an arts scholar in one of Westridge Elementary’s 4th grade classrooms. While there, she helped integrate dance exercises into the science curriculum.

“I know it’s a program that really is beneficial to the students,” Arbon said. “You can see those changes and you can see the excitement for learning in their eyes. And really, that’s what Arts Bridge is all about.”

Robin Knight, a teacher at Old Mill Elementary, had BYU student Seth Crandall help bring out students artistic creativity. Crandall is an expert in visual arts, and shared his experience developing lesson plans that sparked innovation in the children. Knight attested to Crandall’s influence on her students and expressed gratitude for the Arts Bridge.

“Thank goodness for this program because it’s really helped me be a better teacher, to motivate all kinds of students,” Knight said.