Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015-16 Big Picture Fellows

The Big Picture offers a yearlong fellowship to educators interested in developing their skills and understanding of art integration. We’re thrilled to introduce this year’s teams of educators who were selected this summer. In their own words, they describe where and what they teach and answer one of the following questions:

  • Why are the arts essential to what you teach?
  • What do you hope to get out of the fellowship?
  • What is your favorite work of art from the NCMA collection, and why?

Erin Gannon

unnamedSince 1997, I have served as a classroom teacher in grades two through five. For the first 15 years of my career, I worked primarily in charter schools in Southern California, specializing in inquiry and Project Based Learning. I currently teach at a local STEM school and am a member of the WCPSS Teacher Leader Corps. As a National Faculty member for Buck Institute for Education, I facilitate PBL workshops for teachers of grades K-12 across the United States. I am currently a third grade teacher at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh.

My favorite work of art at NCMA is Askew, one of the sculptures found on the grounds just outside the museum. Though sculpture isn’t generally the kind of art that moves me, I am always very drawn to this piece. With the varied weather here in Raleigh, the tree seems to be ever changing. I love that it is, all at once, both powerful and delicate; imposing and inviting.

Elissa Walker

headshot (1)

I am a third grade teacher at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh. I graduated from UNCW in 2013 and moved back to the city I proudly call home. I have loved to doodle, paint, and draw since I was a kid so I consider myself lucky that I am able incorporate it into my career as a teacher! 

My favorite piece of art from the NCMA collection is Rabble. I just love all of the colors and the subtle transition from flowers to butterflies. I find myself gazing upwards every time I visit the museum! 


Beth Rhyne

photo (4)I currently teach Physical Science at Cleveland High School.  I have been teaching Science for 26 years, 12 years in high school and 14 years in middle school.  The art I have used in my classes up to this point has all been student generated and related to class projects.  Usually in the form of illustrating a scientific principle we are studying in class.

I never considered using specific art to illustrate the principles or generate ideas for student work.  I am hoping that through Big Picture I will be able to introduce topics and art work that my students may otherwise not be exposed.


Gail Clougherty

IMG_1466I teach Earth/ Environmental Science at Cleveland High School in Clayton. I use many forms of art in my science classes because it helps students to make deeper connections. The art makes them look closely and think about the details. These are skills that make them better scientists. This fellowship is helping me learn new ways to integrate art and science.



Lisa Schnitzler & Cheri Williams

IMG_8852 (1)My name is Lisa Schnitzler(left) and I teach visual art at Williston Middle School in Wilmington, N.C. I think my favorite piece of work at the museum is Thomas Hart Benton’s painting, Spring on the Missouri. Every time I see it I am so sucked in to the action and color in the piece. The light and movement are amazing, and having spent many years in the mid west, it reminds me of the folks I met out there and their practical nature. The painting can go in either of two directions-is the storm coming, or is it leaving? I wish the museum could acquire another of his works!

My name is Cheri Williams(right) and I teach math at Williston Middle School in Wilmington,  NC. Through the Big Picture fellowship,  I hope to gain a better understanding of art integration in the middle  school math classroom and how arts integration can build understanding and encourage engagement in my class. As a math teacher,  I have always been drawn to M.C.Escher’s art, so this year’s Big Picture fellowship worked perfectly into my ideal collaborative opportunity with my teammate and art teacher,  Lisa Schnitzler.

Educators Night Out in Elizabeth City

On Thursday, October 29, the Big Picture hosted an event at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, called Educators Night Out: Make and Mingle with the North Carolina Museum of Art. We welcomed 59 teachers representing six counties in North Carolina and a range of subject areas and grade levels.

The evening was an exciting opportunity to reach out to teachers in the northeast region of the state and to say thank you for all of the hard work they are doing, as well as a fun way to support and inspire them to integrate the arts into their teaching. And after having to postpone the event because of the potential of flooding from Hurricane Joaquin in early October, we were so thankful for the sunny skies and beautiful weather.

With live music in the background and food and drink to keep them going, the teachers mingled, tried out some of the hands-on drop-in activities, and gathered information from local organizations as part of the Resource Fair.

The presentations were a highlight of the evening. Through a PechaKucha-style experience, we heard several voices responding to the prompt “Why the Arts?” Showing 20 slides for 20 seconds each, each presentation whirled through an exploration of the power of the arts to affect the classroom and the community. We got to hear about the significant role of arts in the community and their effect on the local economy from Katie Murray, executive director of Arts of the Albemarle. Valerie Person and Anita Rubino, an English language arts teacher and a visual arts teacher at Currituck County High School, led us to consider the power of the arts to unlock untold stories. And Vickie Turner, a science teacher at Moyock Middle, made us wonder how you can teach science without the arts by revealing the many ways she integrates art into her science classes.

The evening brought together many voices, all united by a shared understanding of the power of the arts to make a difference in our classrooms and communities. Through events like these, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of an area of the state and to continue to build stronger relationships with educators statewide.


Giving and Getting Feedback

Stop, Evaluate and Listen: Giving and Getting Feedback

Watch our LiveChat that focuses on how a Process Evaluation can impact the outcome of a grant. As we posted in our previous blog entry, NCMA Educators were awarded an IMLS grant in September 2014 to explore the museum’s role in next generation learning. The IMLS grant, Museum Solutions for Tomorrow’s Learners, has had two process evaluations, which provided feedback on how the grant is going. NCMA educators and evaluator speak to how this form of evaluation takes shape during the grant process and how the team responded to the data.