October 2020 Arts Newsletter

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The Arts News & Notes | October 2020

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As I write this, the country is mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (affectionately known as, RGB). She had a long and dedicated career as a public servant, known for her intense study and preparation for every case she reviewed.  In 2015, RGB wrote in an AARP magazine, “Most of the time, even when I go to sleep, I’m thinking about legal problems. But when I go to the opera, I’m just lost in it. Loving it. And I don’t think about any legal brief.” She was 11 years old when she saw her first opera at a Brooklyn high school. This was the beginning of a lifelong passion with opera. She would go on to attend rehearsals, opening nights, closing nights, appear on stage in performances, and is even the subject of an opera with Justice Scalia. This is a reminder to arts educators of the profound influence our work has on students – even those in the audience!

Thank you for all that you do in service of the arts in education – and wishing you all the best as you begin the new school year!

Janet Hayakawa, Program Supervisor
The Arts - Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Office: 360-725-4966             
Cell/Text: 360-764-6157

Image: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the Duchess of Krakenthorp in Donizetti’s “The Daughter of the Regiment” at the Washington National Opera. (Scott Suchman/WNO via AP)


The Arts: Special Considerations – document now available

This document provides and overview of key issues, particularly now in the time of COVID-19 with remote and/or hybrid learning models. This is one of a series of other content areas represented in the Learning & Teaching Division of OSPI. Download the document here and share it with others.


NEW! Health and Safety Requirements for School Scenarios

September 30, 2020 - OSPI, The Department of Health, The Department of Labor & Industries, Local School District Superintendents, and School Labor Representatives released a set of rules and guidance for school staff health and safety. This includes specific guidance for band and choir. Download the document here.


Today Show Features WA Teacher – get inspired!

Taylor Iverson, choir director at Bothell High School in the Northshore School District was honored as a teacher who has risen to the challenge of the pandemic in creative ways. Listen to Taylor and her students as they talk about the importance of music, building community, and how they’re adapting to school during the time of COVID.  as they talk about the importance of music, building community, and how they’re adapting to school during the time of COVID.  

Resources for Learning & Teaching...


Dancing as Indigenous Future

Native American hip-hop and freestyle in Albuquerque, NM is driven by Indigenous dancers from many tribes, Pueblos and communities. Performers Anne Pesata and Raven Bright entwine their Indigenous identity with music and dance.  Read about it and see a video here.

Raven Bright and Anne Pesata. Photo by Shaandiin Tome.


Free professional development for educators by PBS Education

Titles include: Social & Emotional Learning Strategies for K-2 Teachers, Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching, American Portrait: Who Are We? Empowering Young Media Consumers & Creators, and many more. Watch recorded sessions here, and watch for upcoming workshops. 

Printmaking at Home    

Professor Curt Labitzke, the chair of the University of Washington’s Printmaking Program shares a story about taking a printmaking class virtual using materials students can find at home along with $30 of art supplies.  This is followed by video tutorials demonstrating various printmaking techniques – all done at home without a press.  A list of supplies, and a student gallery is also featured. 



Videos: How to Play an Instrument   

The United States Army Band has developed a “Beginning Instrumental Series” that provides step-by-step instructions for voice and band and orchestral instruments – from opening cases to making sounds, to articulation, and disassembly. Click here for the links to over 300 videos.

Creative Start Studio: Early Learning Arts Resources

Find art-focused video tutorials and downloadable lesson plans designed for parents, families, caregivers, and educators of children ages 3 to 8 years here.  Designed by Washington teaching artists, videos feature dance, literary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. Creative Start is an ArtsWA (WA State Arts Commission) project.


Visual arts project by Whatcom County students through the Allied Arts Education Project. Image courtesy of Allied Arts of Whatcom County.


Have Some Fun with Virtual Backgrounds for Zoom from PBS 

Download backgrounds from favorite PBS KIDS shows such as Arthur, Molly of Denali, Wild Kratts and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Image of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood background.


Valaida Snow: The Stage Belonged to Her

Valaida Snow (1904-1956) played a dozen instruments, could sing, dance, act, arrange music and direct full ensemble bands. Snow performed on Broadway and went on to tour in Europe and Asia before being imprisoned in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Read about this remarkable artist from the National Museum of African American History & Culture.


Resources on Social Justice, Privilege, Race and Ethnicity

Media Literacy Now is a national advocacy organization for media literacy education policy. See their collection of media literacy curriculum dealing with social justice and race equity issues here.


Bomba: Puerto Rico’s Afro-Latino Dance of Resistance

Bomba, an improvisational form of dance, originates in the practices of West Africa, brought to Puerto Rico by enslaved people in the 17th century. Bomba provided a source of political and spiritual expression for people who’d been forcibly uprooted from their homes. Sisters, Mar and Maria Cruz share their story and dance. Read the story (English) see the video (Spanish with English subtitles) and transcripts in Spanish and English here.

Photo of Mar and Maria Cruz by Armando Aparicio


Connect with Music Administrators: Oct 7 at 3 pm

Join this national music administration collaborative to learn and leverage collective knowledge. Guest speaker, Dr. David Vandewalker will talk about “The Power of Story: An Inspiring Tool for Organizations and the People Who Lead Them”.  To register for this free session, click here.