Local teachers learn about the ‘Art of Collaboration’

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

October 3, 2013

Teachers in all disciplines from Sampson Middle School, Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School, and Midway Middle School gathered at the Victor R. Small House Thursday to create art together.

The fun, creative day was actually a workshop made possible by the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) as part of its Art of Collaboration Initiative, a state-wide initiative that brings together museum educators and middle school teachers to train in how to incorporate art into all subjects.

This year, both Clinton City and Sampson County schools were selected to participate in the year-long program which, according to the NCMA project description, features “hands-on teacher training, mentoring between teacher colleagues and museum staff, substitute funding for co-teaching and collaborative planning, museum visits for participating students, funding for support technology, and a NCMA student exhibition and reception.”

“We focus on art integration in middle school across the curriculum,” said Jill Talyor, NCMA’s Coordinator of School Partnerships. “This is the seventh year of the project, and so far, we’ve worked with 24 counties including this year’s counties,” listing Currituck, Henderson, Nash, and Transylvania counties as those joining Sampson County and Clinton City in this year of the program.

“We want what kids are learning to feel relevant to their lives and to their futures,” shared Taylor about how art can add value to all subjects. “This helps show them that art is woven into their everyday lives and that there are numerous career possibilities,” ading that “today’s technology is so visually-based that kids need to develop those critical thinking skills as they apply to the visual.”

But before the students can benefit from art being incorporated throughout all areas of their learning, their teachers must first be trained in how to effectively use art in their classrooms so that it complements what they are teaching students about science, math, and English.

“We do some facilitated sessions,” explained Taylor of the teachers’ training, “helping them learn questions and strategies to use. We talked about writing across the curriculum this morning. Then we do art projects that can be structured or can be used just to give ideas.”

Part of Thursday’s training involved the local teachers creating works of art with colored masking tape and then sharing with each other how they could use such an art project in their own classrooms to enhance the different subjects that they teach.

“Some may be like ‘I can’t draw very well’ or ‘I’m not a good painter,’ so using something like this kind of levels the playing field,” Talyor pointed out about the use of masking tape.

As the 17 participating teachers worked on their pieces of artwork, many raved about the Art of Collaboration program and its numerous benefits.

“It’s an excellent way for students to be expressive in all subject areas,” shared Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School keyboarding teacher Kia Owens, noting that she has seen positive results and heard positive feedback from the art collaborations that have already been going on at RSMS.

“It’s an opportunity for them to showcase other strengths that we might now otherwise see in class,” agreed Olivia Hall, a Language Arts teacher at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School.

“It’s great for ESL students because it’s such an opportunity to have a conversation and there are so many vocabulary words involved when you talk about art,” Sampson Middle School ESL teacher April Lewis pointed out.

“I’ve already seen how wonderful it is,” shared Zuma Marin, a math teacher at Sampson Middle School, explaining how the work of art that she created using masking tape could be used to teach lessons on lines, slopes, and angles. “It sparks interest and motivates them (the students) and is an opportunity for us to become better teachers.”

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to have a meeting place for the group and we’re excited about this opportunity for the teachers, students, and community,” shared Sampson Arts Council executive director Kara Donatelli of playing host to the local educators in the workshop. “The North Carolina Museum of Art is really reaching out and we’re fortunate to have them come and share their talents. We appreciate all they do to make an impact and to make learning more memorable and fun.”

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at