WI Arts & Creativity Newsletter

Vol 2, Issue 1 - September 2023

Welcome Back!

I hope this newsletter finds your refreshed and rejuvinated for another school year! I'm confident many of you have a long list of "to do" items already created regarding the start to the new year. My hope, as always, is to CONNECT you to great people, resources, and information that will benefit you and your students.

Look for these newsletters once a month during the school year. Consider sharing this with your colleagues and encourage them to join the listserv by simply sending an email with no message to subscribe-wiartsed@lists.dpi.wi.gov

Wishing you a successful start to the school year!




Fall Tour 2023 (Oct 2-5)

Last year I had the wonderful opportunitity to travel over 3,000 miles across Wisconsin visiting nearly 30 arts classrooms. I enjoyed watching lessons, touring facilities, and talking to teachers and students.

I'm excited to share that I will head back out in the DPI "Family Truckster" for another Fall tour this year on October 2-5, 2023. If you are interested in having me visit, please fill out the Google Form below. Visits are typically around 1 hour to 1.5 hours in length. (I try to get to 4 schools per day). You don't have to prepare anything! My goal will be to set up visits in the next few weeks. Hope to see you soon!

Coming Oct 16 - WI Arts Celebration Project

An important state agency turned 50 years old this year, and it is time to recognize and celebrate its work on behalf of its citizens and the arts community. The Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) is based in Madison, Wisconsin, with a mission to "nurture creativity, cultivate expression, promote the arts, support arts education, stimulate community and economic development, and serve as a resource for people of every cultural heritage." A unique project featuring five exceptional Wisconsin arts educators, Wisconsin composer Erika Svanoe, and 2020-22 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton has been developed to celebrate this anniversary by creating a poem, music, visual art, media art, theater, and dance. All of these creations, along with example lesson plans and videos, will be available to all Wisconsin schools for FREE for one year beginning tentatively on October 16 on both the DPI and WAB websites.

This project began with commissioning the 2020-22 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton to write a poem about our own creative capacities. In her poem, "Like the Wind" she begins with these two stanzas (the entire poem will be available on October 16)

Feel the wind chase and play

In ways our eyes could never see

Lifting motes and weightless matter

Dancing specks of wayward dreams

Breathe them in

Belt it out

Shake loose the quarter notes

Your starter dough, the shards of

broken hearts to be reimagined with melted gold

The message? Creativity lives in all of us. She encourages each of us to "Shake loose the quarter notes" knowing that we have the capacity to create. Later in the poem, she states,

Ideas travel through us like the wind

Forces of our nature

Designers and makers

We are undoers

We are creators

Wisconsin composer Dr. Erika Svanoe has been commissioned for this project and is in the process of composing music for band, choir, and orchestra that will capture the spirit of the poem and use many of the words as lyrics. When completed, the music (around a grade 2.5/middle school performance level) will be made available to all Wisconsin schools for free for one year. The hope is that you would consider programming it with your students and sharing recordings, photos, and artifacts with Chris Gleason to be displayed on the DPI and WAB websites. Gale-Ettrick Trempealeau music educator, Tony Kading, is writing music lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high schools in vocal, general, and instrumental music. These free materials will also include a video conversation about the compositional process with Dr. Svanoe.

Visual Art, Media Art, Theater, and Dance

Chippewa Falls High School art educators Jennifer Handrick and Harry Kellogg have created new 2D and Media Artworks based on the theme and poem. The art will also include lesson plans for both the primary and secondary levels. Wisconsin dance educator Yeng Vang-Strath (Academy of Chinese Language, Milwaukee Public Schools) and Wisconsin theater educator Ron Parker (Appleton North HS) have developed lesson plans to explore the themes through movement, improvisation, and other skills. These resources will be available for free via the DPI and WAB websites on October 16, 2023.

Wisconsin Arts Education Data Reporting Aid

As part of the state accountability system, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) produces report cards for every publicly funded school and district in Wisconsin. These report cards include data on multiple indicators for multiple years across four Priority Areas (Achievement, Growth, Target Group Outcomes, and On-track to Graduation). In addition, the report cards provide course and program participation information for grades 9-12 for public schools and districts.

In February of 2019 Rep. Joel Kitchens and Sen. Dale Kooyenga co-authored bills requesting that arts education data be included on the State & District Report Cards in Wisconsin. On February 5, 2020 Governor Tony Evers signed Act 85 into law.

This bill requires the Department of Public Instruction to include in the annual school district and school accountability report, commonly referred to as school and school district report cards, the percentage of pupils participating in music, dance, drama, and visual arts. Under the bill, DPI must include this information for each high school and school district and must also include the statewide percentage of pupils participating in each subject. The bill specifies that this information may not be used to evaluate a school’s performance or school district’s improvement.

The following video and slide deck was created to assist those who collect and report this data. Arts educators are encouraged to learn about the data collection process and work with their local data team to support these efforts. The need for accurate “clean” data is imperative in order for communities to better understand and support what schools are offering.

Video Link

Slide Deck Link

More resources can also be found on the Arts & Creativity DPI Website HERE.

First Annual Wisconsin Creativity Summit

On August 21, 2023 the Department of Public Instruction hosted the first annual "Wisconsin Creativity Summit" online. The goal of the event was to inspire educators, administrators, policy makers, business leaders, and community members to consider the role of creativity in our schools. Dr. Peter Gamwell, author of "The Wonder Wall" and close friend of Sir Ken Robinson started the event off with a chat about creativity and the urgent need for us to cultivate it in our children. The event will also included time for discussion and dialogue by participants.

The first hour of the summit was recorded and is available below and on the DPI website. Plans are underway for an in-person creativity summit next August! Stay tuned!

2023 Wisconsin Creativity Summit

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) Constructing New Home

WYSO was created in 1966 with the belief that every child has the right to experience beauty and community by making music with others.

This vision continues with WYSO today and includes a top-tier youth orchestra program (with subsidized tuition fees and a robust scholarship program) and a community-impact Music Makers program that puts musical instruments and training into the hands of children who may not have ever held an instrument before.

In this building, students will create lasting friendships with others as passionate about music as they are. Families will create a network of musical opportunities and parents of alumni will return to help the next generation of musicians. This will be a place where the WYSO family, spanning 5,000 alumni and diverse generations, languages, and backgrounds, will gather to welcome newcomers and offer a hand-up to each new musician who enters a program.

Learn more at their website

WYSO Center for Music Digital Fly-Through

National Association for Music Education Releases A Blueprint for Strengthening the Music Teacher Profession

The Music Teacher Profession Initiative (MTPI) was formed in 2021 by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to identify barriers to equity in music teacher recruitment, education, and retention. A task force of NAfME leaders representing institutions of higher education across the country conducted research related to the challenges facing:

  • High school students as they make the decision to pursue a career in music education
  • Collegiate pre-service music educators in their undergraduate degree programs
  • New music educators in their first five years in the profession

The project was executed with the perspective of widening the path to the profession by cultivating and strengthening more inclusive and equitable processes in recruiting, teaching, and nurturing a robust music teacher workforce representative of their students and communities. A Blueprint for Strengthening the Music Teacher Profession describes the task force’s process, outcomes, and recommendations for action. The report reveals the deeply complex nature of tackling the evolution in music teaching and learning. The issues addressed are not easily remedied. We call on those with vested interest in music teaching and learning to take an active role in moving our profession forward in ways that are inspiring, inviting, and inclusive.

Balancing the Promise and Peril of AI in Art Education

As we enter a new era of technology and creativity, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to transform the landscape of art and design education.

AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and advanced generative AI systems, such as Midjourney, Dall-e and Stable Diffusion, have raised concerns about AI’s potential to facilitate plagiarism in educational settings. But what about the impact of AI on the creative process itself? Many worry that the integration of AI in art education will diminish the role of human creativity and innovation.

To address these concerns, it is crucial to conduct Turing tests. These tests were designed by Alan Turing in 1950 to gauge the effectiveness of computer systems at mimicking intelligent human behaviour. The outcomes of these tests can help recalibrate course structures to prioritize ethical and pedagogical considerations. This means taking steps to ensure that students learn comprehensively while also accounting for the impact of AI on the creative process.

"While AI hasn’t surpassed human creativity yet, its rapid progress raises important concerns for art and design education."

Read More Here

The Pursuit of Art and Higher Education

Why don’t more students pursue art in higher education?

For many students, art is more of an outlet rather than profession, and in a world where student’s lives revolve around academics, art gets sidelined. For our research, I interviewed Liam, an international studies & economics major. In his free time, Liam sometimes enjoys partaking in creative writing. When asked why he no longer pursues art, Liam described how, “it almost feels like an inefficient use of my time. Which is a sort of sad thing to say, because I think, maybe it would be good for my wellbeing to participate in more creative outlets.”

Read More Here.


New York Times features UW–Madison alumna and pioneering dance educator Jody Gottfried Arnhold

The New York Times featured a story recently, headlined “Repeat After Her: There is No Dance Without Dance Education,” about UW–Madison alumna and dance advocate, educator, and founder of the Dance Education Laboratory Jody Gottfried Arnhold.

“In dance education circles, her first name is enough,” reads the article. “Everyone knows Jody. They call her the doyenne of dance, the godmother. They speak of her as the No. 1 cheerleader, the most tireless and tenacious champion, the general.”

Schools aim to enrich students by expanding culturally responsive arts education

Some schools are expanding their art and music class offerings beyond the usual — to make room for art that reflects their students' cultural heritage. As students start heading back to school, many have decisions to make, like whether to take choir or theater. But some schools are expanding their offerings to make room for art that reflects students' cultural heritage.

Read More Here

Music + Poetry for Justice Impacted Youth

A new story from NPR shares how music and poetry provide an outlet for teens impacted by the justice system. From the story:
"Music makes you okay to feel whatever way you're feeling," says Keisha Johnstone, a member of Sound Impact's board who advocates for at-risk youth. She says interacting with the musicians and participating in the creating process helps these kids build self-confidence and self-worth to work through and overcome their past missteps and trauma.

National PTA Reflections Online Gallery

National PTA announced winners of its 2022-23 Reflections art program, an award program that honored students with original creative interpretations of this year's theme “Show Your Voice!” Seven students have been awarded top honors with the Outstanding Interpretation Awards, and over 200 students across the nation and in pre-K through 12th grade have been recognized with Awards of Excellence and Merit. View the award-winners on the National PTA’s online gallery.

Scientists Recreated a Pink Floyd Song From Listeners’ Brain Waves

Electrodes collected brain signals while people listened to “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1,” then computers produced a garbled but recognizable track.

Learn More Here.

Slinger High School student wins 2024 Wisconsin State Park and forest vehicle admission sticker design contest

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that Slinger High School sophomore Samantha Williams is the winner of the 2024 Wisconsin State Park and Forest vehicle admission sticker design contest.

Read More Here

D.C. Everest students showcase musical talent in European Summer Tour

This summer 239 talented Wisconsin student-musicians traveled throughout Europe as Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music, including 22 D.C. Everest Senior High students and a collection of North Central Wisconsin students from Auburndale, Lakeland and Minocqua.

Read More Here

Madison drumming students show off their skills

Students at the Drum Power summer arts camp welcomed the public in Saturday to learn some of the same skills they've been perfecting over the past two weeks.

The morning featured drumming and dancing at the Madison Youth Arts Center off East Washington Ave. The summer course teaches kids ages six and up skills in West African and Afro-Brazilian drumming and dancing, all culminating with Saturday's community event.

"The parents of the students who are in camp are encouraged to come and actually practice and learn the arts along with their young people who have already been here," Drum Power founder and director Yorel Lashley said. "And what that really ends up being is the young people in some cases getting to teach their parents."

Read More Here

Embodying the arts: Class puts youngsters in touch with their feelings creatively

The children were taking part Tuesday in the Embodiment Arts class — the first youth class at the Art Hub, although some middle schoolers are taking a beginning wheel-throwing pottery class. Owner Jacy Eckerman knew from the start that art classes would be part of the Art Hub, and a necessary source of revenue to realize her dream of opening an arts center.

Read More Here

Gen Z Entrepreneurs Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis With Music Therapy

As the youth mental health crisis impacts schools nationwide, two Gen Z entrepreneurs created a new way for educators to understand students’ emotional needs — through the power of sound.

SoundMind, a music therapy app created by founders Brian Femminella and Travis Chen, reduces students’ stress and anxiety through audio and visual beats tailored to the needs of each user.

Read More Here

'I feel really lucky': Wisconsin teen's art displayed in the U.S. Capitol

A teenager from Wisconsin, whose self-portrait won a congressional art contest, got the opportunity to see her drawing displayed on Capitol Hill. New art adorns the walls of Congress this week. One of the works now on display is Ryannah Glassen’s self-portrait.

“I feel really lucky and it’s really exciting,” Glassen told Spectrum News. “I’m glad I got to visit the Capitol and see my own artwork. And it’s just a bunch of different opportunities that I’m lucky to have.” This opportunity began in late April, when Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., picked Glassen’s drawing to represent his district in the 2023 Artistic Discovery Contest.

Read More Here

Pulaski band to perform in 2024 Rose Parade

Being invited to perform in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California is an honor for most school music programs, but especially for a small rural community like Pulaski.

Pulaski is one of 15 schools in the world to be invited to the 2024 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade, and Pulaski High School Associate Director of Bands Michael Guerrero said he is "elated."

Read More Here


Nominations Now Open for Herb Kohl Awards

The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation is now accepting teacher and principal nominations for the 2024 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellowship and Principal Leadership awards. Awards are $6,000, with an additional $6,000 grant being awarded to the school of each selected teacher and principal. The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation awards 100 Fellowships and 16 Leadership awards annually from among all applicants throughout the state. The deadline to submit nominations is Oct. 3, 2023. For more information, visit the Kohl Education Foundation website.

Looking for resources to support your in-classroom instruction, professional development, or student engagement?

As the new school year kicks off, The NEA Foundation is offering several grant opportunities to support public school educators.

  • Envision Equity Grants enable educators to test creative new ideas and innovations, demonstrating exemplary teaching and learning, while advancing students’ cultural understanding and appreciation, anti-racism commitments, and understanding of civic engagement and democracy.
  • Student Success Grants support educators engaging students in project-based and deeper learning to support the development of skills and dispositions contributing to success and fulfillment in a changing world.
  • Learning and Leadership Grants are intended to provide resources for educators hoping to engage in professional learning that can be implemented in their classrooms.

For a step-by–step look at the application process, this "how to apply" video may be helpful. The deadline to apply is September 15.

Contact us with any questions at NEAFoundation@nea.org or 202-822-7840.

Apply Today for a Tri-M® Music Honor Society Grant

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to sponsor 10 NEW Tri-M® Music Honor Society chapters during the 2023-2024 school year. The deadline to apply is September 22, 2023.

Read More Here

NEA Announces Second Round of Grants for FY23

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce more than $103 million in recommended grants in the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2023. Organizations in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions will carry out arts projects in three NEA funding categories: Grants for Arts Projects, Our Town, and State and Regional Partnerships.


Careers In Music Resource

The NAMM Foundation has created an amazing tool to help reveal hundreds of choices—in addition to the traditional paths of performance and teaching—can provide life-long, secure, and rewarding careers in music. Learn more here.

Educator Collaboration Opportunities with Google for Education

The Google EDU team is kicking-off the opportunity for schools to connect with Google EDU product teams for the development of Google products in the classroom. Some of the opportunities are for teachers and administrators while others require the permission of an administrator for registration purposes. Click here to learn more.

Artificial Intelligence Guide For Busy Educators

I've been fascinated (and a bit freightened) by the rise of AI in our world. Wanting to learn more, I did some research and came across a fellow educator/tech wizard, Eric Curts, who produces videos, blogs, and presentations on a number of technology topics. The video below is a fabulous introduction to AI, the ramifications for schools, along with some nifty solutions/strategies. His website is also fabulous and filled with great ideas.
Artificial Intelligence / Natural Misuse - Managing AI in Schools

Artful Connections from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Discover free, interactive videoconferences to support teaching art, history, critical thinking, and creativity skills. Check out the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Artful Connections program for descriptions of eleven topics and scheduling information.


Great Advocacy Ideas From The WI Music Educators Association

Practical Ideas for Implementing High-Quality Afterschool Arts Programs

A new report from The Wallace Foundation outlines how organizations can keep costs low while creating high-quality afterschool arts programing. Several promising practices emerged from their research including:

  • Teaching artists: Organizations could employ early career teaching artists as well as longtime professionals.
  • Equipment: Organizations could seek donations of new equipment and materials after engaging industry partners in the relevant art form.
  • Dedicated spaces: Organizations could form partnerships to use the spaces at community arts organizations or other institutions.

The Arts Count

In May 2018, the Arts Education Partnership published Music Matters. This was the first in a four-part series of special reports that used ArtsEdSearch to illustrate the many benefits of arts education. The Arts Counts series went on to publish Visual Arts Matters, Theatre Counts and Dance Counts in the following years.

Aside from the well documented support the arts give to academic achievement in other subject areas, themes emerged about the many other ways the arts improve students’ lives in and out of the classroom.

Read More Here

The Surprising Ways Art Changes Our Brains And Bodies

We might intrinsically know that engaging with and making art is good for us in some way. But now, scientists have much more evidence to support this, thanks in part to a relatively new field called neuroaesthetics, which studies the effects that artistic experiences have on the brain.

A new book called Your Brain On Art: How The Arts Transform Us, dives into that research, and it turns out the benefits of the arts go far beyond elevating everyday life; they’re now being used as part of healthcare treatments to address conditions like dementia and trauma.

Read More Here

Achieving Equity in Arts Education

A new brief from the Wallace Foundation looked at equity in arts education. A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison interviewed a number of out-of-school-time arts program leaders and participants to ask them what they think works best in arts education. Four main categories of policy recommendations emerged:
  • Focus on youth and community assets
  • Expand beyond a program-centric model of funding and design
  • Support creative professionals
  • Rethink the design and implementation of assessment systems

10 Reasons to Support the Arts in Wisconsin in 2023

The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, empathy, and beauty. The arts also strengthen our communities socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even during a pandemic that has been devastating to the arts. The following 10 reasons show why an investment in artists, creative workers, and arts organizations is vital to the nation’s post-pandemic healing and recovery.

Read More Here


State & National Conferences


Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education Conference – UW-Green Bay, September 22, 2023

Wisconsin Dance Council Conference – Madison, October 21, 2023

Wisconsin Art Education Association Conference – WI Rapids, October 26-27, 2023

Wisconsin State Music Conference – Madison, October 25-28, 2023


National Dance Education Organization Conference Sept 29-Oct 1, 2023 Denver, CO

National Theatre Education Conference Sept 28-30, 2023 St. Pete Beach, FL

Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium Oct 12-14, Salt Lake City, UT

The Midwest Clinic (Band & Orchestra) Dec 20-22, 2023 Chicago, IL

NAMM Show | National Association of Music Merchants, Jan. 25-28, 2024, Anaheim, CA

Annual Arts in Education Conference | Young Audiences Arts for Learning, April 3-5, 2024, Chicago, IL

National Art Educators Association Conference April 4-6, 2024 Minneapolis, MN

Conference for Community Arts Education | National Guild for Community Arts Education, April 9-12, 2024, Washington, D.C.


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Chris Gleason

Arts & Creativity Education Consultant

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

This publication and previous issues are available from: Division of Academic Excellence> Teaching and Learning Team> Arts and Creativity. https://dpi.wi.gov/fine-arts/newsletter

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital status or parental status, sexual orientation, or ability.