The Creative Advantage School Partnership Summer Institute

Seattle Art Museum (Downtown)
1300 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
August 20, 2015; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Register Now!

We are excited to announce Gilda Sheppard as keynote speaker for the upcoming Creative Advantage School Partnership Summer Institute! This interactive one-day workshop invites participants to gain skills and knowledge applicable to their work with school partnerships. They will learn from local experts, see best practices in action, collaborate with their peers and get creative! This day will inspire and empower participants to help transform student learning through the arts.

Gilda Sheppard is an award winning filmmaker who has screened her documentary films throughout USA and internationally at the Berlin Germany International Black Film Festival and Fest Afrique 360 at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Section. Gilda is a professor of sociology, cultural and media studies at The Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington. She has taught internationally in colleges and universities in Ghana, West Africa and is a volunteer Professor at Washington State Reformatory for Men and Women’s Correctional Center for Women. Her present documentary Swinging With No Hands is based on provocative and transformative stories from men and women in these two facilities. Gilda is co-editor for the anthology, Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way

The Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with Seattle Art Museum presents The Creative Advantage School Partnership Institute. The institute includes learning opportunities focused on – arts integration, equity in your practice, arts and socioemotional learning, growth mindset, and effective community building in the classroom.

If you are a current or aspiring teaching artist, arts or school administrator, certified teacher, or youth development worker, we invite you to attend. If you represent an organization, please also share with your teaching artist faculty and program staff.

Feature Focus: How the Creative Advantage Engages Students at Seattle World School

Seattle World School (SWS) is one of several Seattle Public Schools to launch an arts plan through The Creative Advantage, a city-wide partnership to reinvest in equitable arts education for all students. Funding from these efforts allows SWS and other activated Creative Advantage schools to partner with local arts organizations like Spectrum Dance Theatre and Jack Straw Productions. Located in Capitol Hill, SWS is unique in that it primarily serves immigrant and English Language Learners (ELL) students. With over 20 languages and more than 30 countries represented at the school, students are not only learning subjects like math, science, history, and language arts, but are simultaneously learning English as their second, third, or fourth language.

So we wanted to find out: what role do the arts play in these students’ educational experiences? With the help of SWS music teacher Aimee Mell, we recently had the pleasure of visiting two choir classes and speaking directly to students about what arts programs mean to them.

Walter, an 18-year-old student at SWS, is involved in choir. “I like choir because I learn a lot of words and their pronunciations,” he told us. “It helps with my English, like understanding words in math class or understanding the meaning of a song.”

Walter has many goals for his future. First he wants to go to college, but after, he’s also interested in becoming a doctor, joining the Army, or trying out for the Seattle Sounders. The skills he’s gained from his arts classes, like becoming more fluent in English, may help him achieve those dreams.

And Walter isn’t the only student who feels the arts are benefitting him both in and out of school.

“I really like when I have to work with my hands, like drawing or sewing,” said Shirley, 16. She hopes to one day become an interior designer, and she knows that her arts classes are helping prepare her. “For example, when teachers ask me to do posters, they really appreciate my work and art skills,” she explained.

Music teacher Aimee Mell also believes the arts can help newly-emigrated students, like Walter and Shirley, transition to life in the United States.

“My goal is that when students newly arrive to the U.S. and at the World School, that they will walk into my music room and find something they can relate to, and that they will feel a little piece of home,” she told us. “Learning and living in a new language is daunting, and hopefully music is a place of fun, refuge, community and success.”

In addition to preparing students for success in life, arts classes at SWS provide creative opportunities for students to express themselves. Dona, 16, is involved in choir along with Shirley and Walter. “I really have a good time singing with friends, and even on stage,” he told us.

The arts have helped Dona gain the courage to take risks and try new experiences, like singing John Legend’s “If You’re Out There” at a choir concert or acting two different roles in the The Taming of the Shrew. “I like to try different things,” he said. “I like to sometimes do drama and sometimes music, and even art—though I don’t know how, but I’ll try.”

Arts classes have been an integral part of Dona’s education at SWS. When we asked how he would feel if he lost access to arts programs, he found it difficult to imagine. “I don’t know how I would enjoy my time without singing or acting,” he said.

Shirley feels the same. One of her best memories is from acting in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “When I did Midsummer Night’s Dream, I was the main character, so my grandma came from my home country, Guatemala,” she said. “I was pretty excited. She saw me in the play and she congratulated my teacher. That was the best play that I could do. And my dress was amazing, I really liked it.”

From sparking students’ creativity to helping them learn English, arts classes are a valuable part of the school day that should be accessible to all SPS students – a belief that The Creative Advantage is working towards making a reality.

Photo by Aimee Mell

Arts education focus: investment in the field

“Change, true change, is a collective tidal wave made of many voices and multiple approaches.” Excerpted from Justice in Education.

Community Arts Partner Roster is growing

Chris Daigre dances with 1st and 4th grade students in the gym at Greenwood Elementary as part of physical education

This year the Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster added 25 more teaching artists and organizations to our list growing list which encompasses 77 Seattle artists and arts organizations. The roster is a vetted list of teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations that have been approved to work in Seattle Public Schools through the Creative Advantage. The roster is also a community resource that is available for schools, community agencies and other public and private entities which use it to seek partners to lead creative learning opportunities for their programs.

Creative Youth Development Summit a success

Something to Say:  Creative Youth Development Summit was a powerful convening of youth arts and community program leaders that took place at the Seattle Central Library on June 5, 2015. Youth development directors, teachers, managers and supervisors gathered for a day of interactive exploration led by Denise Montgomery, a national expert on creative youth development. The summit lived up to its creative name with teaching artists leading a variety of activities in in visual art, theatre arts, and creative writing.  The activities allowed participants to experientially and creatively reflect and engage in art making practices to expand their perspectives on how to incorporate creativity in their own practice and programs.  The summit planning committee included staff from – Arts Corps, Office of Arts & Culture, School’s Out Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Public Library, YMCA Powerful Schools, Youth Development Executives of King County

Teaching Artist Guild launches national quarterly

The Creative Advantage is a member of the The National Guild for Community Arts Education. Here is a highlight from their most recent bulletin.

Teaching Artist Guild Launches National Quarterly

Teaching Artists Guild (TAG) – a professional membership-based organization dedicated to supporting teaching artistry – has released the first issue of a quarterly publication that will include interviews, in-depth features, business advice, upcoming events, field developments, and job opportunities.

Creative Advantage School Partnership Summer Institute
Seattle Art Museum
Aug 20, 2015; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Register here!

Creative Advantage Workshop, Photo by Catherine Anstett

This interactive one-day workshop invites participants to gain skills and knowledge applicable to their work with Seattle Public School partnerships. Learn from local experts, see best practices in action, collaborate with your peers and get creative! This day will inspire and empower you to help transform student learning through the arts.

This workshop is free to participants and includes lunch and eight Washington State Clock Hours. Teaching artists, K-12 teachers, and arts education administrators are welcome to attend.

If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact:

The Creative Advantage out and about this summer:

Catch us if you can at on Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jubilee Days, between SW Roxbury St. and SW 112th St. on 16th Ave. SW and 17th Ave. SW.

or on Saturday, August 1 at Umoja Fest from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St, Seattle.

Come say hi and learn more about the Creative Advantage.


Photo credits: Creative Youth Development Summit, by Jenny Crooks; Teaching Artist Guild publication; the Creative Advantage teacher workshop, photo by: Catherine Anstett; Jubilee Days.