Picker Wins Empire State Grant: Arts-In-Education Commended

Nikki Sansone

The Picker Art Gallery, in association with the Upstate Institute, has received a grant from the Empire State Partnership to fund their Arts-in-Education program.

The Arts-In-Education program began in 2004 when Central High School teachers invited teaching artist Glenn McClure to help second and tenth graders explore Galileo’s life and science through music. Since then the program has steadily grown to include its most recent project wherein Colgate student interns helped Central High students to produce an original film entitled, “The New Plague.” Picker Art Gallery educator Melissa Davies in partnership with Susan Schoonmaker, Central High’s vocal music/theater teacher, are responsible for initiating and coordinating the Arts-In-Education project that is to pan out with the help of the NYSCA grant.

“We’re implementing a full array of projects,” says Davies, “always keeping in mind that at Colgate the mission is to serve the Colgate students…so whatever we do in partnership with the Central school has to be appropriate for Colgate.”

Senior Jill Ferris is one of the Educational Studies interns participating in the program. The program allows her to undergo the pre-certification training she will need for next semester when she will take on a more proactive role with the students in the classroom. Interns not affiliated with the Educational Studies program can expect to receive similar benefits in being able to apply knowledge gleaned from Colgate classrooms to real-life situations, and being paid to do so courtesy of the Upstate Institute.

The NYSCA grant is awarded to cultural institutions that play an influential role in a school setting. Colgate is the first university to date to receive this grant, and as such will serve as the prototype for other universities to follow in its footsteps. Though both Davies and interim director Bruce Moseley stress that this year under the NYSCA grant is just a “planning it” year, the program’s model will be eligible to be shared at the end of its seventh year.

The Arts-In-Education program is just one of the many ways Colgate tries to reach out to the community. The program is predicated on the proven success of VTS, or Visual Teaching Strategies. Moseley notes that through VTS, students at Hamilton Central High school can gain better critical thinking skills at an earlier age. VTS is a learner-based teaching method that focuses on discussion and exploration of visual props to help students learn, and has been proven to improve student scores on standardized tests. By strengthening Hamilton’s school system with this kind of a progressive partnership, one hope is that Colgate will be better able to attract professors and faculty.

Featuring the arts in education is a growing enterprise that has shown promising results. The partnership between Colgate and Hamilton Central High School is a prime opportunity for students to be a part of something that could essentially shape their future. The Arts-In-Education program is not only helping kindergarten through 12th graders but also college students.

Education is all too often overlooked as a career possibility, yet it ranks amongst one of the most important jobs out there. Taking part in this forward thinking program is sure to enrich any student’s resume and sense of work experience. For more information on getting involved with the Arts-In-Education program contact the Picker Art Gallery at 315-228-7634 or visit www.pickerartgallery.org.