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College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Members to Participate in State College School District Panel Discussion on the Importance of the Arts in the Curriculum

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College of Arts and Architecture faculty members Graeme Sullivan, director of the School of Visual Arts, and Darrin Thornton, assistant professor of music education, will serve as panelists in an open community discussion reflecting on the arts as a valued component of the State College Area School District's curriculum on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 7-8 p.m., in the Schlow Centre Region Library Community Room. "Community Conversation: Arts with the Brain in Mind" is the initiative of school district superintendent Robert O'Donnell, who seeks to engage scholars, teachers, and community members in a discussion regarding the role of the arts in schooling. During the conversation, facilitated by O'Donnell, the panelists will look at the arts from a brain development perspective, using Eric Jensen's book Arts with the Brain in Mind as a basis.

The goals of the discussion are to increase understanding of the value of the arts, provide an overview about what the school district is doing to support student learning within the arts, and spark ways to help the school district to improve its arts-related learning experiences. Other panelists include school district art and music coordinators Danielle Crow and Robert Drafall. 

Discussion questions to be addressed include:

  1. In what ways has education changed over the past 30-50 years that may make arts more valuable today?
  2. What is the value of the arts in a world where technology, efficiency, and speed are highly valued? 
  3. Do arts help develop the brain?
  4. Are there special age groups important for introducing the arts to children?
  5. What are the effects of a fully-implemented arts program?
  6. How do/can we use the arts to help develop students who are poised for happy, healthy lives?
  7. What are the neurological benefits of arts experiences for children?  Are the ripple effects of these benefits felt across content areas in our district?
  8. What benefits have arts experiences provided our graduates in their academic and personal lives?
  9. Do parents in our community want the arts to be regarded as a major discipline at all levels, some, or none? 

For further information and the opportunity to submit discussion questions in advance, please visit the State College Area School District's webpage.