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.