The Southern Utah Museum of Art hosted the Evenings for Educators event from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17 to educate elementary and secondary teachers across the state of Utah on how to incorporate art into their lesson plans.
Southern Utah University Art Education Assistant Professor Aundrea Frahm and SUMA Coordinator of Learning and Engagement Alanna Styer ran the workshop. The event included a hands-on dirt project, networking opportunities and free educational materials.
Educators could join on Zoom or in-person with refreshments provided by SUMA. Frahm and Styer welcomed participation in the chat and answered technical questions about conducting art projects in the classroom regardless of the class’ subject.
Frahm and Styer’s goal for the night was to model a lesson plan that would start the conversation about the climate crisis.
“Most people were online, which made me nervous about engagement, but we had a lot of people participating,” said Styer. “It was exciting to see people not only learning but creating work.”
SUMA’s newest exhibition, “This Earth: Notes and Observations by Montello Foundation Artists,” focuses on connecting nature, the environment and climate to creativity. The exhibit featured art, including videos with audio, photos and paintings by artists at the Montello Foundation in Nevada.
“Simple engagement with nature can lead us to think about what is currently happening in the climate,” said Styer. “We as humans interact with nature and we’re impacted by the changes going on.”
Evenings for Educators events are funded by the State Board of Education and are a member of the Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools organization. They have eight partner hosts with museums across Utah with SUMA being the last stop in their fall 2021 schedule. Other partner hosts include the Springville Museum of Art, Brigham Young University Museum of Art and Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art.
“We have a state-wide mandate to bring professional art experiences to teachers and students across the state,” said SMA Senior Educator for K-12 Engagement Leslie Makai Gleaves. “We’re constantly getting feedback from teachers in different areas in the state they want us to host an event.”
The program encourages educators to tie in visual elements with their lessons because it can fulfill state course requirements for students in a creative way.
“This has been over 20 years in progress,” said Makai Gleaves. “It’s to invite educators to get skills and training to build confidence to incorporate art in their course subjects because working through the teachers reaches the students.”
The current SUMA exhibit is free and open to the public until Dec. 23. SUMA is open from 11-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and closed on Sundays.
Story & Photos By: Addie Horsley