The Florida Center for the Partnership for Arts-Integrated Teaching offers educators advanced training in arts-integrated instruction to improve student comprehension.

PAInT Center at USF Sarasota-Manatee enjoys productive year

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: July 30, 2019

From collaborating with educators statewide to partnering with arts groups on important community events, the Florida Center for the Partnership for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) experienced its most productive academic year in 2018-19 since its creation three years ago.

Denise Davis-Cotton, PhD

Florida lawmakers approved legislation to create the statewide PAInT center at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in summer 2016. Since then, the organization has partnered with colleges and arts organizations to provide advanced training to educators in arts-integrated instruction and to help them implement their own programs.

Arts-integrated instruction is a teaching method that combines the arts with non-arts lessons to help students understand and retain academic material. Studies show that students’ comprehension improves significantly when classroom lessons are integrated with the arts.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, a pioneer in arts-integrated instruction, launched PAInT as a campus organization in 2012. Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD, serves as the director of PAInT.

Here are highlights of PAInT-directed initiatives during the 2018-19 academic year:

  • PAInT Across Florida – A collaboration with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education to offer professional development to school districts. This program presented advanced arts-integration training to educators in Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
  • Careers in the Arts – A partnership with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education that resulted in a free workshop for middle and high school students interested in pursuing careers in creative fields.
  • The PAInT Circus Science Program – A program focused on arts-integrated instruction involving members of the Sarasota-based Circus Arts Conservatory. Following Florida standards for force and motion, the program introduced fun learning activities – promoting collaboration, critical thinking and knowledge retention – to a STEAM-based curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).
  • The Business of Creativity – A six-part workshop series on business and technology. Sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and New College of Florida, faculty from the Cross College Alliance identified strategies to present technology and creative learning to classroom instruction to engage students. The sessions enabled participants to share classroom experiences, develop new skills, expand pedagogy and diversify their teaching and learning formats.
  • PAInT CreatED by Crayola – A workshop for Manatee County supervisors and coaches to explore parallels between written and visual literacy, such as the intersection between arts and language arts. Participants used art elements and design principles to decode illustrations and learn how symbols convey meaning.
  • Arts Literacy Program – A program for early learning teachers focused on grade-level reading in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The program introduced the teachers to arts-integrated instruction to help prepare children for lifelong success through quality early-learning instruction. PAInT and Embracing our Differences collaborated on this program.
  • PAInT Arts Integration Miami – A partnership with ARTZ OUT LOUD and the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, this program helped Miami-Dade students understand the science of music, sound and language arts. Students studied the compositions of Sergei Prokofiev, including “Peter and the Wolf,” to note the pitch and timbres of musical instruments, as well as the messages conveyed in music.
  • Historically-Speaking and Write-a-Play – A partnership with Florida Studio Theatre, this program for teachers and students wove together lessons in theater, literacy, history and creative writing.
  • PAInTing Pictures of Autism – An outgrowth of Autism Awareness Month, this unique event brought together students and adults from Sarasota and Manatee counties who are on the autism spectrum. The workshop featured artwork, live performances and discussions that focused on awareness, acceptance and misconceptions about autism. Partnering with PAInT were the USF Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs, USF Sarasota-Manatee Office of Disabilities, Easter Seals, The Haven and Embracing Our Differences.
  • America’s Songs I and II – A partnership of PAInT and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, this community event featured a talk by music historian Michael Lasser. His presentation, “Illuminating History: The American Popular Song,” integrated art with history to examine music that emerged during important moments in American history.
  • The [M]others – A preview stage reading of the documentary play, “The [M]others,” by Nikki Yeboah, PhD. Hosted by PAInT, the USF Office of Multicultural Affairs and New College of Florida, this stirring community event explored the stories of four women whose sons were killed by police in California. The documentary weaves together interviews, exploring the traumatic effect of these events, while introducing audiences to the four victims: a young man with dreams of playing professional football, a new father just getting to know his son, a former addict on the brink of turning his life around and a teen killed the day before his seventeenth birthday. Yeboah is an assistant professor of communication studies at San Jose State University.

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