ArtsPath Reports on Banner Year

Posted on 8/6/2013 12:53:26 PM

The 2012–2013 season for the Lively Arts arts-in-education program, ArtsPath, was a banner year as several thousand students were served through multiple outreach sessions by touring artists, as well as through long-term artist residencies with ArtsPath teaching artists.

From jam sessions and workshops with legendary jazz violinist John Blake Jr., to a presentation to elementary students on Chinese dance by the world-renowned Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, the outreach sessions by the Ovations! series touring artists offered a great learning experience to all who attended. And through the talented ArtsPath artists, a wide variety of individuals—students, teachers, administrators, community members, and pre-service teachers—experienced the power of the arts through a long-term residency.

In all, well over 10,000 area students were served with ArtsPath outreach activities, including the organization and presentation of the regional competition for Poetry Out Loud.

Here is a summary of an extraordinarily busy year!

September 12–November 14, IUP College of Education, Indiana County

Fiber artist Sandy Trimble worked with two groups of 30 pre-service students on integrating the arts into any subject and curriculum. A continuation of a highly successful set of residencies as IUP continues to graduate teachers who have a better understanding of the importance the arts play in learning and our society as a whole. This critical residency helps prepare future teachers on how to teach creatively by harnessing the power of the arts.

September 13–December 13, IUP Punxsutawney, Jefferson County

Woodworking artist Mike Stadler spent this semester-long, 27-day residency working with two core groups of writing students integrating a wood project into their writing curriculum as they explored abstract thinking. He also worked with additional students on a volunteer basis in providing an artistic outlet on a campus without any arts courses.

October 9, Birdland Big Band, IUP, Indiana County

World-renowned and legendary drummer Tommy Igoe presented an hour-long drumset masterclass to drummers from regional high schools and IUP, followed by an hour-long open rehearsal with the IUP Jazz ensemble.

October 23, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, IUP, Indiana County

Drawing ukulele aficionado’s from regional high schools as well as professional players from Pittsburgh, the members of the UOGB presented an hour-long masterclass on the ukulele, where all participants also learned parts of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in order to perform it as part of the UOGB evening concert.

November 13, New Directions Veteran’s Choir, IUP, Indiana County

The five male members of the choir presented an hour-long program over the noon hour in the Stapleton Library commons area on the IUP campus to an audience of students, staff, and faculty, where they shared their stories from being a homeless veteran on the streets to being a member of this choir, as well as singing several numbers acapella.

December 10, Shrek the Musical, IUP, Indiana County

Several cast members from this national touring show spent over an hour with students from regional high schools and IUP, answering questions about acting, touring, the arts, and the ins-and-outs of show business in general.

January 3–February 13, Indiana Jr. High School, Indiana County

This 20-day residency with writer PJ Piccirillo brought to the students a new-found depth of critical thinking and writing skills by exploring the process of taking a book to another medium through the study of Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. It culminated with attending a theater performance of Around the World in 80 Days by the touring company Walnut Street Theatre, followed with a residency wrap-up by meeting the actors and asking questions.

January 6–June 1, State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove, Indiana County

Writer Walt Peterson continued previous residencies in working with inmates during this 20-day residency. They explore many types of writing, writing styles, and authors as they improve reading/writing skills, interaction, and relate and express their own thoughts and feelings through their writing. To date, there has been no recidivism of participating inmates.

February 11–13, Walnut Street Theatre, IUP and Various Schools, Indiana County

Cast members from the renowned Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia presented a variety of outreach activities over a three-day period, including three masterclasses, as well as a talk-back session with seventh graders as part of the culmination of a 20-day ArtsPath residency.

February 4–5, 21, John Blake Jr. Quartet, IUP and Various Schools, IndianaCounty

John Blake Jr. and the pianist from his quartet presented four outreach event programs at four different schools in two days, as well as an open rehearsal an evening jam session. They also performed several pieces and talked about influential composers and the history of African American music during an hour-long program over the noon hour in the Stapleton Library commons area on the IUP campus.

March 1–29, Brockway Jr/Sr High School, Jefferson County

Writer PJ Piccirillo worked with two core groups of students on advanced storytelling and writing during this 20-day residency as they created fictional works based in part on their own experiences.

March 2–3, Renée Fleming, IUP, Indiana County

Indiana native and world-renowned soprano Renee Fleming took part in a Q&A on the IUP campus with IUP students and faculty.

March 12–13, Daedalus Quartet, IUP and Indiana Sr High School, Indiana County

The quartet presented two masterclasses for both high school and college-age students, talking about the music, demonstrating techniques, and taking a variety of questions.

April 4, Cimarron, IUP, Indiana County

This world-renowned Ilerana group presented an hour-long lecture/demonstration over the noon hour in the Stapleton Library commons area to a widely varied audience. They played several pieces, talked about their music and its place in their culture, and took audience questions. 

April 14, Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, IUP Indiana County

Several cast members from this national touring show spent an hour with students from regional high schools and IUP, answering questions about acting, touring, the arts, the ways of show business, and providing “all the information they don’t teach you in college.”

April 23–24, Temptation of the Muses, IUP and Various Schools, Indiana County

Combining the world-class playing of the Ahn Trio and grace of the Nai-Ni Chen dance company, both groups presented a variety of educational outreach activities. The Ahn Trio presented a masterclass for high school students and copresented a lecture/demonstration, while the dance company presented an hour-long presentation on Chinese dance to elementary students, copresented with the Ahn Trio, and presented a dance masterclass to regional high school students, IUP students, and community members.

April 16–May 11, Clarion-Limestone Elementary, Clarion County

Visual artist and sculpture Martha McKinley Murphy worked with a core group of students every day of this 12-day residency, as well as all students in the school through their art class at various times in creating a variety of theme-based projects through recycling and “up-cycling.”

April 29–May 31, Community Guidance Center, Indiana County

Abstract painter Julie Bernstein Engelmann worked with two groups of students in the ALPHA program—the “littles” and the “bigs”—who have learning challenges and have been placed in the guidance center until they can be mainstreamed back into the regular public school classroom. Through abstract painting, the students found a voice that was not critical or wrong, and were able to express a variety of feelings on a variety of subjects they were studying. This is the only art experience these students have while at the guidance center.

May 1–June 7, Butler Intermediate School, Jefferson County

Artist Becky Smith from the Pittsburgh Glass Center worked with students during this 20-day residency in not only creating their own mosaic project, but a large public art mosaic for the cafeteria in a new building for the Butler Health Systems.

More Information

If you are a teacher or principal who would like your students and school to be considered for future outreach sessions, or would like to explore hosting an artist residency, please contact Jeff Wacker, ArtsPath associate director for arts-in-education services, at 724-357-2787 (ARTS) or at

ArtsPath is the arts-in-education program of the Lively Arts, serving the five-county region of Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties.