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Arts Integration Goes on the Road

September 14, 2016

The Columbia Museum of Art’s commitment to providing arts education reaches beyond the central Midlands. 

In order to make an impact all across our state, the CMA took MOSAIC, a professional development workshop featuring arts integration, on the road. The educators who attended the workshop can take their new skills back to their classrooms where they can incorporate arts education into math, literature, science and other lesson plans.

First stop was Kingstree, in Williamsburg County. Using a grant from the S.C. Department of Education and working with Jennifer Holliday, coordinator of fine arts and gifted and talented programs for the Williamsburg County School District, the CMA created a tailored workshop for approximately 70 educators from the county.  

We chose to kick off the program this spring in a rural county in part because of a recent Abbeville County, S.C., lawsuit that found rural school districts have fewer resources and advantages than districts in more urban areas. Also, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, passed in December 2015 as a successor to the No Child Left Behind Act, includes language that cements the obligation of each state to support arts education programs in public schools. 

Arts integration gives students additional ways to approach all subjects, which gives educators additional avenues to connect with students of every learning style. Arts integration also builds a focus on 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. 

Educators attended four sessions during the all-day workshop: 

Stop Motion Creativity: Working in groups, participants combine their writing, design and technology skills to write a script, design scenes, and create a stop-motion movie. The educators also learn how to convey these lessons in the classroom, even with limited technology or supplies.

Trash Can Band: Educators use found materials to make musical instruments and explore the science behind how sound is made. Participants also learn about world music instruments focusing on a stumpf fiddle, which is used mainly in folk music. This translates to the classroom because teachers can promote science, music, and design while encouraging students to create instruments out of recycled materials. 

Do You Speak Visual?: This session focuses on the exploration of visual literacy and its applications across different subjects. Educators learn how to use images as teaching tools to engage students in conversation. Visual language is key to all subjects and helps students think critically while encouraging curiosity. 

The Secret Room—An Original Production from Inspiration to Curtain Call: Educators learn to structure a student-written play using stories from history and literature to create an original production. Participants wrote a play about the Underground Railroadand and added songs and dances to the dialogue.

“I really enjoyed the MOSAIC session with Anne Richardson regarding playwriting and theater, says Melissa Nichols from C.E. Murray High School in Greeleyville, S.C. “It was fun and interactive, and I brought back many tools to use in my English classroom from the session. I hope we get to have more interactive professional development sessions like this in the future! Thank you for bringing it to Williamsburg County!” 

The CMA is excited to offer professional development to educators and districts around the state. If you are interested in learning more, read here or contact Kayleigh Vaughn at 803-343-2186 or

“MOSAIC on the Road was such an amazing professional development opportunity for our teachers,” said Holliday. “We cannot thank the Columbia Museum of Art enough for providing this event. Our teachers brought back to their classrooms many arts integrated strategies that were put in place immediately.

Prefer to read the issue as a PDF? Download it here.