Today, the Arts Ed Collaborative unveiled the #ArtsLearningAtHome website, where students, families, and educators will find arts education videos, live virtual workshops, lesson plans, and more. The site, which covers a wide variety of instruction on areas including creative writing, visual arts, dance, and music, is an initiative of the Creative Learning Network, described on its website as providing Allegheny County teaching artists with “opportunities to connect, create content, learn together, and grow as professional arts educators.”
New content will be downloaded to the site throughout the fall, which users can search by discipline, age group, artist, or by keywords. There will also be live Zoom and Facebook events.
Yael Silk, executive director of the Arts Ed Collaborative, says it's important to support arts learning, especially in a time when schools are struggling to provide the tools necessary for students to learn at home. She points to the Arts Education is Essential campaign launched in June, a statement endorsed by 53 organizations and schools from across the country that says students should "have access to an equitable delivery of arts education" that "supports their educational, social, and emotional well-being, taught by certified professional arts educators in partnership with community arts providers."
"I would add that arts education can offer opportunities for minoritized students to delight in seeing themselves represented and for all students to develop empathy for people with different identities," says Silk. "Also, arts learning develops creativity and the capacity to respond to the unexpected — these capacities are desperately needed during our current crises and are critical for building a multi-racial democracy."
A press release says #ArtsLearningAtHome started over the summer as a response to COVID-19 and has since grown into a “robust resource of arts learning for the school year.” It goes on to say that users can “digitally connect with a diverse group of artists."
The Creative Learning Network goes beyond #ArtsLearningatHome by also supporting Allegheny County educators impacted by COVID-19 with Creative Learning Rapid Response. The program pays stipends to Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ teaching artists, as well as those living with a disability, to produce virtual workshops or to take part in a virtual residency.
"Teachers and school leaders are engaged in heroic acts as they do their best choosing among some terrible options," says Silk. "Especially early in the year, having a library of powerful arts learning opportunities to share with students, to enhance and deepen already planned instruction can help both teachers and students alike."
She adds that the Arts Ed Collaborative staff is "excited to meet with curriculum directors and other district leaders in the coming weeks to introduce this new resource and support arts educators in Southwestern PA."