December 2021 Arts Newsletter

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The Arts News & Notes |December 2021

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The Creative Process

The creative process is not something that just happens.  It takes learning, work, and support. The legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, often credited Oscar Hammerstein II for being both a second father and musical mentor to him.  He valued the support and influence that teachers had on his career. When asked what he would do if not a composer, he said “a teacher” without hesitation.  Never doubt the role that arts educators play in the life of students.

The three-part documentary - The Beatles: Get Back, and Tick, Tick . . . Boom! – a film about composer Jonathan Larson (Rent) directed by Lin Manuel Miranda exemplify another aspect of the creative process -  that wonderful, yet messy back and forth, trial and error repeated again and again until a work of art emerges. Perhaps we ought to tell our students that a 12th arts anchor standard is about persistence and perseverance!

Let’s take inspiration from the work of these artists as we work with our students and the creative process.

Thank you for all that you do in service of the arts in education,

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

Art – “Trust” by Melinda Wilson, Superintendent’s High School Art Show, 2010



2021 America Celebrates

Holiday Ornaments


Congratulations to Michelle Hubbert’s 5th grade class at Harmony School, in the Mount Baker School District in Whatcom County.  Inspired by the bounty of the sea to the West and the Cascade Mountains to the East, students created designs to represent Washington State for this year’s National Ornament Project. See the 2021 ornaments here.  Watch the 99th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Sunday, December 5th @ 8:00 pm on the CBS Television Network.  For more information, click here.

Resources for Teaching and Learning


December is Universal Human Rights Month      

The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR is a milestone document which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being.  It is available in more than 500 languages.  Click here to see an online gallery of exhibits.


Compose Music with an Electronic Paint Brush 

Play with this interactive, online tool, a Google Arts & Culture experiment that allows you to turn a paint brush into musical instruments on a sensorial canvas. Paint with music in four different settings, In the Sky, Underwater, On the Street, or On Paper.


The Original Renegade Dance – Lesson Plan

Jalaiah Harmon created the Renegade when she was 14 years old.  See her demonstrate the dance here. Read this article by Taylor Lorenz, The New York Times about how Jalaiah became an internet dance sensation.  Find the lesson plan here.


Recording the Voice – Lesson Plan

How did the development of microphones in the 20th century change the way people make and listen to music?  This lesson and support materials posted on PBS Learning Media prompts students to consider the impact of technology when recording the human voice.  For grades 9-12.


Jazz Musician, Terrance Blanchard

Writes Opera   

Blanchard is a six-time Grammy-winner and a two-time Oscar nominated film composer whose opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones (adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s memoir, libretto by Kasi Lemmons) opened The Metropolitan Opera’s 2021-22 season.  This was the Met’s first performance of an opera by a Black composer. For more information from The Met click here.  See video clips and background information here.


Stimulating the Creative Economy Through Art

The Walls Project is a community reactivation organization stimulating Louisiana’s creative economy, by creating and painting murals in underinvested schools and neighborhoods, educating and inspiring youth to attain the high-demand jobs of the future, and reactivating communities by remediating blight and making them safer.

Mural  “Leaving the Leaf on STEM” – Wall 59


After School Technical Theatre Program   

Intiman Theatre’s STARFISH Project seeks to increase representation among previously marginalized voices by offering free after-school technical theatre training and production support to high school students from South Seattle Schools.  Participants work with professional mentors and are empowered to design, build, and manage all technical aspects of a fully staged production. STARFISH students receive a stipend for their participation.  Click here to learn more.


A Theatre Cooperative that Prioritizes

the Female Voice 

Believing in the energy and innovation that intrinsically belong to youth, the Foul Contending Rebels Theatre Cooperative is created, organized and run by young artists in Burlington, VT.  They seek to create theatre that rebels, argues and fights back against what is suppose to be.  See their production of Hamlet hereClick here for more information.



Coming Soon!  Regional High School

Art Shows  

Enter high school student art (2D & 3D) in a Regional High School Art Show.  Each Educational Service District across Washington sponsors an art show.  All regional shows will send finalists to compete in the 49th Annual Superintendent’s High School Art Show at the state level.

ESD 101 (Spokane)

ESD 105 (Yakima)

ESD 112 (Vancouver)

ESD 113 (Olympia)

ESD 114 (Bremerton)

ESD 121(Puget Sound)

ESD 123 (Pasco)

ESD 171 (Wenatchee)

ESD 189 (Anacortes)

Photo – “Traveling Light” by Dakota Durr, Ferris High School, ESD 101


Native Art Grants:  Deadline Dec 3 

The Connections to Culture grants support opportunities for Native artists to work with historical collections at the Burke Museum to expand and grow cultural arts knowledge, inspire artistic practice, and to aid in the transmission of artistic and cultural knowledge throughout communities and across generations. Funds cover travel expenses, materials, and artist fees. Click here to learn more.


Connect with Arts Educators from Across WA

Learn and share with colleagues at regular convenings.  Earn one clock hour for each session. To get notifications and updates email


District Arts Administrators

Meet bi-weekly, Thursdays from noon – 1 pm, next session – December 9To register for clock hours, click here.

WA Arts Educator Collaborative (educators, teaching artists, administrators)

Meet once a month, Wednesdays from 4 – 5 pm, next session – December 8To register for clock hours, click here.


Wildlife Photographer Competition:

Deadline Dec 9 

The Natural History Museum (London) hosts an annual competition and exhibition highlighting the relationship between photography, science and art. Images can cover wildlife and the natural world, wild plants, animals, their natural environments, or illustrate our interaction with nature. There is no entry fee for photographers 17 years or younger. Click here for more information.

Photo – by Hui Yu Kim


Student Review Contest: Deadline Dec 15

The New York Times is sponsoring the Seventh Annual Student Review Contest.  Open to students ages 11 to 10 in middle or high school.  Students are invited to play the critic and write an original review of some creative expression (music, film, theatre, dance, art, architecture, and more).  Selected essays will be published in the print New York Times.  Teaching resources are available here.


Opportunity for King County Artists:

Deadline Dec 15

The Arc Artist Fellowship provides unrestricted $12,000 awards for Indigenous, Aboriginal or Native artists who live in King County. 4Culture will also provide promotional support through their website. Everyday expenses like rent, childcare, and transportation can be offset with this award to allow for creative practice. For more information, click here.


Anti-Racist Practices in Arts Education:

Jan 20, 4-6 pm

Explore both the historical context of white supremacy within arts/education/arts education and strategies to disrupt this system. This Teaching Artist Training Lab (TAT Lab) workshop will support a deepening understanding of principles pertaining to anti-racist teaching practices and will invite and guide participants to reflect and implement actionable strategies into their own practices. Sliding scale $0-$40, free clock hours.  Register here.


Learn & Plan with Resources from PBS: Jan 24

Join staff from WA’s PBS stations on January 24th, 4-5 pm as they share free, ready-to-use, standards aligned digital resources for in-person and virtual learning on LearningMedia.  Explore these materials and interactive lessons to use with students.  The newest Ken Burns documentary, Muhammad Ali will be featured.  Click here to earn one clock hour.


OSPI Seeks Consultants for Arts Academies

OSPI announces the upcoming release (January 2022) of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from arts organizations, teaching artists and others interested in participating with the Native Voices Arts Academy and the Voices from the Field Arts Academy. Both programs involve middle school students who qualify for the Migrant Education Program and their teachers with the integration of arts, culture and academic learning. See the announcements here.


Free Teacher Workshops

The Children’s Art Guild presents, Authenticity in the Creative Classroom, monthly workshops for dance, music, theatre, and visual arts educators.  Participants co-create lessons, processes and learning units that will let students explore creative possibilities.

Dec 14, Jan 18, Mar 1, Apr 5, May 17, June 14. Register here.