THE ARTS IN EDUCATION
Lincoln Center Education: A New Lighthouse for Arts in NYC
By Yehuda Bayme & Annie Nova
Monica & Anna, teaching artists from Monica Bill Barnes & Co.
Lincoln Center Education (LCE) hosted its annual summer teacher’s forum, where educators gather from all over the world to learn how to integrate the arts into their lessons. The primary focus of LCE is to inculcate knowledge and appreciation of the arts into everyone – from prisoners to people in shelters to those with special needs – as well as the general public who would not normally have such artistic exposure. “It’s not Lincoln Center as addition or enrichment, it’s Lincoln Center as necessity,” said Russell Granet, the program’s executive director.
LCE, in the heart of Lincoln Center surrounded by the Metropolitan Opera and The Julliard School, runs several programs throughout the year to incorporate the arts into the curriculum of all subject areas across the city of New York. For the forum held each summer, teachers from across the country and around the globe flock to Lincoln Center for professional development.
This summer, educators have been prompted to “think like an artist”, as they learn to weave the music, dance, theater, and fine art into their non-arts curriculums and the communities at large. In the two-week span of the program, teachers participated in labs, listened to keynote addresses, and saw performances from LCE’s 2014-15 season repertory artists. Attending and experiencing these live performances are an essential part of each and every workshop during the event. One dance performance, choreographed and performed by Monica Bill Barnes and company, including Anna Bass, was used as a jumping point for workshops later that afternoon.
Albeit the risks, performers and teachers like Anna and Monica at Lincoln Center Education love to teach. The environment is very supportive including providing the best talent available. Becky Vargus, a dancer and teaching artist at LCE, discussed with Education Update, how she is sent to affluent as well as disadvantaged schools around the city to incorporate movement into lesson plans. Vargus, as well as director Granet mentioned that the goal of LCE is not to make artists but to engage with the population so that they can think like an artist. Although risky at times, LCE showed us that the arts are a very high form of discipline. For example, teachers from schools were given workshops at the forum to come up with a “line of inquiry” to guide them so that they can convey a performance’s message to its audience. Juxtaposing different details of the pieces they saw, teachers would then be able to reflect on the effectiveness of them and draw upon related ideas.
Lincoln Center Education is producing bright and creative ideas. Expect to see great things coming out of this place. It is truly inspiring the world to embrace the gift of art. For more information, visit LCE’s website, http://lincolncentereducation.org. #