Four UW–Platteville undergraduate art education majors traveled to Madison to meet with State Sen. Dale Schultz (R–Richland Center) as part of the 2013 Arts Day sponsored by Arts Wisconsin.
“The meeting with Sen. Schultz was amazing and I was impressed with the students’ ability to passionately and candidly share their stories about why they want to be art educators certified to teach in Wisconsin public schools,” said Barbara Westfall, assistant professor in the UW–Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts, and teacher of the Art Education Methods II class. “It is encouraging to hear our state senator speak passionately about his support for arts programming in southwest Wisconsin.”
Schultz met with these students and Westfall to discuss the future of arts education in Wisconsin as part of the students’ coursework in Art Education Methods II.
“Listening to Dale Schultz talk about his support for the arts was inspiring,” said Lynea Axelson, a senior art education major from Oregon, Ill. “His wife is the superintendent at Richland Center and his daughter participated in dance, so he knows the public school system and about fine arts. Art plays an important role as a core curriculum and also encourages learning in other subjects areas and everyday lives.”
The students who participated in the Arts Day activities included Ciera Adams, a senior secondary education major from Mazomanie; Kaitlin Bril, a senior fine arts major from Decorah, Iowa; and Lesley Stephenson, a senior fine arts major from Mineral Point, and Axelson.
“Art education is just as important as science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a core curriculum, particularly for students who benefit from understanding concepts in other areas through visual arts,” said Adams.
As part of the Wisconsin Arts Day, UW–Platteville students also observed art classes at Madison West High School, and went to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The Art Education Methods II class followed docents, who serve as guides and educators in the museum, to learn how to incorporate art museum field trips into curriculum.
“After observing three art classes at Madison’s West High School I saw first-hand how engaged their students were, which is an obvious reflection of good teaching in the public schools,” said Brill.