How’s it going for the arts education community? The Creative Advantage is carving out space to come together, celebrate successes, swap stories, and share new ideas. Through the many challenges and transitions of this time, educators have responded with innovation, empathy, and art.
This session will be crafted PechaKucha style. Hear from your arts ed peers as they share what's keeping them grounded, hopeful, and energized as they strive to teach at the intersection of creativity, love + justice. This event is free to educators and all attendees are eligible to earn two Washington State Clock Hours.
About the presenters:
Olisa "Spyc-E" Enrico is an artist, educator and administrator who believes in the unique power of art to cultivate community and culture. She is a performing artist first who prioritizes connection to emotional, spiritual, and cultural truth. She earned her BFA in Theatre Performance Magna Cum Laude and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy with a dual focus in Both Acting/Directing and Voice/Speech, and specializes in the use of Ritual Poetic Drama Within the African Continuum and Archetypes for the Actor. Olisa is a board member of The Conciliation Lab (TCL), formerly The Conciliation Project, engaging the community in courageous conversations to undo oppression that is woven into the fabric of this complex nation. She is also the Artistic and Executive Director of Griot Girlz, a collective of Black Womxn artists whose mission is to engage the community in the art of storytelling through cultural practice and performance. Olisa provides performances, professional development, curriculum development, consultations and workshops through her business Praxis Essentials.
Leah Mann is a dancer, choreographer, somatic practitioner, and arts educator, focusing on embodied social justice. She is Co-Director of Lelavision, a performance and production company that combines kinetic musical sculpture, dance and music, simultaneously. Leah is Artistic Director Emeritus of Moving in the Spirit, a youth mentorship program utilizing the praxis of dance to develop life skills. She shares from her kinetic learning style to cultivate community through the common denominators of the human experience. Leah’s work focuses on the exploration of healthy eco systems, micro to macro and the intrinsic and extrinsic value therein.
Blake Saunders began teaching in Seattle’s Central District in 2014, and in 2019 moved from Washington Middle School to Garfield High School. He loves the work, particularly in a diverse community. The kids are so full of life and passion and even when they are rascally, they are rarely cynical. He teaches both choir and percussion, including drum line for brand new drummers. A few years ago, Blake formed a partnership with the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses who have brought both professional-level clinicians and open LGBTQ discussions into the public schools. This partnership has also given his choir students the chance to perform each year at McCaw Hall, Seattle’s opera house. Blake strives to decolonize the music classroom while building a culture of inclusivity and self-directed learning. Blake also adores his other job, which combines his passion for drums and his football fan spirit. He plays bass drum with the Blue Thunder, the official drumline of the Seattle Seahawks.
Lauren Appel (she/her) has worked at many educational and cultural institutions in Washington and New York including her current roles as Art/MakerSpace Specialist at Queen Anne Elementary and Seattle Public Schools’ Virtual Option Pilot Program, faculty member of Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab, and teaching artist with Seattle Children’s Theatre. She has also worked with Arts Corps, Hilltop Artists, Youth Theatre Northwest, Rubin Museum of Art, Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Lauren holds a BA in theatre from Smith College and a MSEd in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education.