Biographical Community Portraits in Words and Visuals

Students at Powhatan High School combined Art and English to create multimedia biographical portraits of members of their community. In the 2022-2023 school year, seniors in two classes at Powhatan High School worked together to interview special guests such as coaches, specialists, and the superintendent. […]

How does the Joan Oates Institute impact students and teachers?

What does professional development at the Joan Oates Institute offer teachers and students? The impacts on teachers and classroom outcomes are deep and far reaching. “I think that education should be experiences… this is going to be a vehicle for so much student buy-in.” – […]

Teacher and instructor

What is it like to attend the Joan Oates Institute?

What happens at the Joan Oates Institute? Networking. Collaborating. Learning creative processes. Practicing art. Stretching and growing: “By coming to the Institute and doing the different activities, and working with the actual artists at the Institute, I can see myself as an artist as well. […]

What Sets the Joan Oates Institute Apart From Other Educator PD?

Hear from our past educator participants on how our training was unlike any other: “This was hands-on, real people, real experiences, real applications for the types of communication or the types of problem-solving or the types of thinking that we’re trying to foster and facilitate, […]

Boy holds up trash collected in a creek

Environmental Stewardship through the Arts

Students and teachers at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts spent a school year exploring the Reedy Creek Watershed while actively learning vital components of the curriculum and nurturing creative and communication skills through various art forms. In 2013-2014, Partners in the Arts supported […]

Common Arts Integration Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions that keep teachers from embracing this research-backed, experiential, engaging instructional method. Since 1994, Partners in the Arts has trained and supported public school educators in integrating the arts into their classrooms. Explore some of the myths surrounding arts integration, as well […]

A man stands in front of a painted wall

Insectageddon: Environmental Education + Art + Activism

How do you get kids to care? How do you get students to see themselves in the world? In 2021, Partners in the Arts connected a community organization, a spoken word artist, and a science educator in a collaborative unit. Students harnessed the power of […]

One man paints a wall standing on a crane, another man holds a paint roller

Mending Walls in K-12: We Need to Talk, We Need to Make

What happens when artists from different backgrounds come together to discuss societal issues and create joint public artworks addressing them? Mending Walls RVA is an ongoing public art project in Richmond, Virginia started by Hamilton Glass. It connects artists from different cultures to speak openly […]

Two pieces of paper with words and collaged images against a blue background

English Learners Introducing Themselves Through Zines

Ashby McNeil is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Falling Creek Middle School. In the 2018-2019 school year, McNeil implemented a project to help her English learner students express themselves in the classroom by sharing their personal journeys. Together with fellow ESL […]

A teenager reads a picture book to younger students in a classroom

Developing a Transformative, Integrated Humanities Program

In 2015, teachers in Midlothian, VA worked to develop an innovative and interdisciplinary Humanities program at Clover Hill High School. The initiative, led by Barbara Bingham and Rebekah Amato, aimed to help student academic performance and absenteeism by merging language arts with social studies classes. […]

A wrestler addresses a crowd of students sitting in bleachers

Teaching Literacy Through Wrestling

Dear Diary, The kids have lost it! They are bouncing off of the walls, literally. If they try to body slam each other one more time off of the sofa, I am going to lose it. Send help… Wrestlers as Storytellers  Need a solution to […]

A group of students work on a mosaic on a table

Arts-Integrated Scientific Fieldwork

The world is integrated, cross-curricular, and experiential. Thus, it is logical, natural, and beneficial for students to learn in the same way. To truly prepare students for their futures as engaged participants in society, this type of instruction should be the norm. From 2011-2012, a […]

Man stands in front of a microphone

Teaching through Spoken Word with Roscoe Burnems

In early 2021, Roscoe Burnems was announced as Richmond’s first-ever poet laureate. Roscoe has been an integral member of Partners in the Arts (PIA) for many years, contributing his expertise, talent, and passions for spoken word poetry and student-centered education. Poetry for All Roscoe connected […]

A woman dances in a group

Supporting Social and Emotional Learning through the Arts

Marjorie Valentine recently retired after working at Binford Middle School for 39 years. She participated in the first teacher cohort of the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) through Partners in the Arts. After completing her training, Ms. Valentine shared how arts integrated learning benefits all […]

A dome lit from within at night

Interdisciplinary Teaching Across an Arts-Integrated Middle School

Jonathan Walker is Assistant Principal at Binford Middle School. Prior to his current position, he was an English teacher at Binford and attended Partners in the Arts’ Joan Oates Institute during his early years of teaching. Jonathan has experienced arts integrated learning both in the […]

Hands hold pieces of cardboard

Assessing through the Arts: Process over Product

Kira Jersild is a 7th and 8th grade English teacher at Binford Middle School. Kira completed the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) with Partners in the Arts (PIA). With her teacher cohort, Kira gained many valuable skills to integrate the arts into her classroom. An […]

A woman holds a piece of black paper cut in the shape of grass

Elevating Student Voices through Arts Integration

Kieasha King is a 3rd-grade teacher at Woodville Elementary in Richmond and was in the first cohort of teachers to earn an Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) from Partners in the Arts.  Partners in the Arts developed her understanding of an arts integrated approach to […]

Hands rip apart a calendar on a table

Classroom Learning and Art-Making as Parallel Processes

Jordan Brown is the Director of Education and Programs at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and a member of the Partners in the Arts (PIA) Board of Advisors. Jordan currently leads a team of dedicated staff who run educational programming at the Visual Arts […]

Learning at Home and School Through Makerspaces

Creating, making, and problem-solving can begin anywhere there is imagination, and imagination is free. In early 2020, you may have noticed rainbows hanging in windows of houses in your neighborhood. Maybe you saw posts about masks being made by novice sewers, raised garden beds being […]

Two pages of comic sketches

A Story in Comics

Here is a story: Many years ago, there was a trapper. He was interested in trapping a beaver so that he could sell its pelt, so he purchased a beaver trap. He set off into the woods with the trap, found a likely spot by […]

A man and a woman work at a table with other people around them

Fearless Teaching: Here Be Dragons!

When lacking information on what was known beyond the visible world, ancient maps were inscribed with the words “Here Be Dragons” and frightening images to warn travelers to stay away. To be a creative individual and a master educator however, we must train ourselves to […]

Hands building out of cardboard

Students at Work: Building Bridges

Peter Culley, international architect and the founder and director of Spatial Affairs Bureau (UK and US) opened the 2016 Joan Oates Institute with a look at architecture and design through model-making. The hands-on making process was intended to stimulate design-thinking as educators used model building […]

The Art of the Memoir

What better primary source is there to study both history and memoir-writing than a WWII veteran? Partners in the Arts director Liz Sheehan visited Clover Hill High School to observe implementation of their Engaging Creative Thinkers (ECT) Award project, The Paths Project. Students in the […]