Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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NLAC Arts Awards

2010 Arts in Education Award winners: Patricia Gregory and Charlotte Jones
2010 Patron of the Arts Award: Statoil

The 26th annual Arts Awards took place Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Reid Theatre in St. John’s.

2010 Arts in Education Award

Patricia Gregory and Charlotte Jones
(Learning Through the Arts Western Newfoundland and Labrador)

Patricia Gregory is the founder, and Charlotte Jones is the current coordinator of Learning Through the Arts Western Newfoundland (LTTA/WNL). The program partners professional artists with teachers and students to integrate the arts into core curriculum subjects. Disciplines include visual art, music, storytelling, drama, and dance. For example dance could be used to teach math, or storytelling used to teach social studies. The program also provides district-wide teacher professional development.

Patricia Gregory, a musician and former teacher, initiated the program in 1999. With vision and drive she secured funding and coordinated Learning Through the Arts for five years.

Charlotte Jones, a visual artist and arts administrator, took over as coordinator in 2002. Since then, the program has grown from operating in 8 schools, to 15 throughout the region.

Currently in its twelfth year, the program employs between 8 and 12 artists a year, and has worked with over 150 teachers, and 3000 students from Grades 1 to 6, offering students the chance to enjoy learning in new and different ways.

Q and A with Charlotte Jones and Patricia Gregory...

NLAC: Can you give us some examples of how LTTA uses the arts to teach “regular” subjects? How do you use dance to teach math?

Charlotte Jones
Charlotte Jones

Charlotte: The quickest answer is to go to our website (www.wnlsd.ca/lttawnl) and search our lesson plans under dance. Recently, though, dance artist, Candice Pike used movement with Grade 3 students to explore the concept of perimeter and area. The students drew shapes with their bodies and measured perimeter by counting body lengths or the number of snowshoe steps to get around the shape. Dance is all about pattern, sequence and movement as is music, for that matter.

NLAC: How do kids respond to learning in this way – give us some examples of the “connections” they make?

Charlotte: With arts-infused learning, kids can connect physically with a concept. They can synthesize and apply various concepts during a hands-on project and have fun.

Patricia: It has been quite a while since I was directly involved with LTTA, but, as I think back, a unit on "sound" in grade 3 comes to mind. A local musician had the children explore vibration, pitch etc. by creating variations with their own voices and viewing them on a screen. This particular unit really impressed the teachers, and the children really grasped the concepts because they could see it, as opposed to writing a meaningless definition.

Patricia Gregory
Patricia Gregory

NLAC: What about kids who find more tradition methods more challenging – do they find this “outside the box” approach more or less rewarding?

Charlotte: We find many students who find traditional methods of learning challenging have an opportunity to excel in LTTA/WNL projects. Give a shy child who finds it difficult to speak up or participate a puppet or a mask—ask them to talk to the puppet and see what happens. We all learn in different ways.

Patricia: A grade 2 class that was exploring a drama component had the class set up as a quiz show. The unit was on "heroes" and a child who rarely participated in class took the chair in the front to be questioned by the class. The teacher and artist had chosen to use fairy tale heroes. The class proceeded to question the child, who was becoming increasingly sad. Upon being asked the reason for the sadness, the child said that it was because her child was very unhappy. Teacher, artist, and classmates were unsuccessful in discovering the identity. Finally, the child told them she was the mother of the Ugly Duckling. I would say that this was a first. It gave the teacher a new insight into this shy, quiet child and led her to take a more varied approach to that child and others.

NLAC: What is your favorite success story of the program so far?

Charlotte: So many success stories—I am sure that every artist in the program has had at least one. My personal experience working with a Grade 5 class on a playground design project. The final step was for each student or group of students to make a scale model (math, by the way). I had noticed one student who was isolated and whose desk was placed by the teacher’s desk obviously because he was quite disruptive. He had made an incredibly wrought, elaborate model to scale. The teacher later told me that she had never seen him so stuck into anything—she was amazed and delighted for him.

Patricia: My very favourite success story is not about children, but about the program. Having overworked teachers and artists come together to enhance the education of all our children is absolutely amazing. To see the artist, not as an entertainer, but as a co-worker is quite an achievement. Without the total commitment of the classroom teacher, LTTA would not work. The teacher sets the goals for the unit, the artist suggests ways to reach those goals. Discussion ensues. The teacher is totally involved in each session because she/ he knows the students. During and after the sessions the process is evaluated with the view to improvement. The teacher can then use these new approaches in the classroom, thus enriching the education of all.

NLAC: What about the teachers – how do they respond to the artists and what they have to offer in the classroom?

Charlotte: The teachers are great. The key to making this program work is the wonderful partnership between teacher and artist that has evolved over the years. The program is also professional development for teachers and we have seen teachers use many of the projects in their own teaching.

Patricia: Yes, the success of LTTA is due to the hard work of many talented and dedicated people.

2010 Patron of the Arts Award - Statoil

Patricia Gregory

Statoil is an international energy company with operations in 34 countries. Headquartered in Norway, a growing part of their Canadian operations is offshore Newfoundland.

Caron Hawco - Senior Advisor, Communications and Stakeholder Management, CAN OU, for Statoil Canada Ltd.
(Photo courtesy of CBC TV)

Caron Hawco is Senior Advisor, Communications and Stakeholder Management, CAN OU, for Statoil Canada Ltd. She accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Listen to her speech here.

Its investment in the Newfoundland and Labrador arts community has focused on the Resource Centre for the Arts (RCA) Theatre Company, Shallaway, Ruckus on the Edge, and Wonderbolt Circus.

A three-year, $100,000 investment supports RCA Theatre Company’s StatOilHydro Play Writing Series. This includes a Young Playwrights Seminar Series, Mentorship Programs for emerging artists and developing playwrights, developmental Theatre Arts Workshops, Playwrights Networking Programs, and commissions.

The company also supports Shallaway’s Mentorship Program through a $75,000 3-year commitment. It provides annual scholarships, mentored leadership, and collaborative experience to seven university students and seven secondary students.

Through a one-time $25,000 sponsorship, Statoil supported Ruckus on the Edge (the local portion of the JUNO awards) in its Music Education program. It brought musicians to schools around the province where they taught musical skills and fostered a greater awareness of the roles and careers in the music industry.

And in 2010 Statoil Canada was a Gold Sponsor of Wonderbolt Circus during its 2010 performance of Tricksters at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad.

Statoil Canada’s investment in the arts sets a great example for large corporate industry. It demonstrates an strong understanding of the value that a vital arts community contributes to society as a whole.