Area teachers exhibit art in Augusta
On Friday, Dec. 1, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the Augusta University College of Education, in collaboration with the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, will host "Unbroken: Life, Learning, Mandala," a showcase of works by local artists and teachers from several surrounding school districts.
A mandala is a symbol that represents the universe in spiritual traditions, but the term mandala also colloquially refers to any geometric shape that represents the universe, usually in a circular, symmetrical pattern. This exhibit showcases two-dimensional and three-dimensional art created by a variety of professional local artists and amateur local artists.
But the bulk of the work was created by teachers in the surrounding school districts, who are working with the Augusta University College of Education to learn to incorporate integrative STEAM curricula into their schools.
Dr. Ashley Gess, professor of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education at Augusta University, said that the mandala works both because of its geometric nature, but also because the teachers who created the pieces are working to discover harmony and unity in their instruction by incorporating the principals she is teaching.
“They are re-discovering themselves as educators and educational leaders and the mandala is being used as a medium for each teacher or teacher team to realize their emerging self through applying their new knowledge and incorporating it into their current framework and identity as an educator,” Gess said.
The benefits of this approach are overwhelmingly enjoyed by schoolchildren. Research shows that using art to provide context to apply math and science knowledge has been shown to ease students’ transitions in to studying STEM subjects and pursuing employment in those and related fields.
“The big takeaways are that art can be used the elevate the curriculum when the focus is on the design process, and that effective STEAM education results in deeper understandings and improved confidence for students,” Gess said.
The college hopes to work together with the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in the future, to bring art to more students across the CSRA
For more information, contact Dr. Ashley Gess at STEAMED@augusta.edu or 706-737-1496, or Gary Dennis at The Jessye Norman School of the Arts at 706-828-7768.
Jefferson County teachers:
Marsha Lea Moorman