Trust Arts Education Department Travels to Israel for Visual Arts & Culture Study Seminar

Mon, Jul 17, 2017

Written by: Seth Laidlaw

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Arts Education Department provides educators, students, and community members with opportunities for personal and professional growth through performances, workshops, classes, and other programs that nurture an appreciation and understanding through the arts. For 10 days in July 2017, members of Arts Education Department are traveling throughout Northern Israel, into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for a Visual Arts & Culture Study Seminar with Classrooms Without Borders. We are among 30 individuals – which include classroom visual arts teachers, practicing visual artists with diverse backgrounds, and arts administrators and producers – who were accepted into the seminar.

Our travels will include a breadth of experiences – exploring large art galleries and institutions; participating in local artist workshops; experiencing ancient holy sites and astounding architecture; and engaging in one-on-one conversations with teachers, artists, and arts administrators living in Israel.

With the wealth of learning and exploration packed into this study seminar, the real fun will begin when we are back in Pittsburgh and integrating these authentic experiences into the classrooms with the help of our Teaching Artists and visual arts teachers from Pittsburgh Public Schools. We hope to bring back three “c’s” to integrate into our classrooms: creativity, connectivity, and community.

1. Creativity

What happens when you put a group of visual artists and educators in a new country for 10 days? Well, we are soon to find out, but the possibilities are endless with the combined creative juices that will be flowing during and after the study seminar!

We are so excited to see new artwork created by the participants and their students that build upon the story of our collective experience. We are already coming up with opportunities for this new work to be displayed in the Cultural District, throughout Pittsburgh, and even back in Israel to continue the creative conversations.

2. Connectivity

The Trust Arts Education Department seeks to build connectivity across cultures that will enhance the classroom learning in Pittsburgh.

In a day and age where computers, cell phones, and electronic applications can help humans feel more connected to the things outside of their own community, there is still something to be cherished about the experiential learning from engaging directly with a person or object. But what happens when we strip away the computer screens and actually immerse ourselves in the culture? Ten days with local artists, experts, historians and tour guides will provide a framework for Israeli art and culture with deep connections unlike anything we could gather from history books and Google searches.

3. Community

While we are so excited for the opportunity to meet and connect with our Israeli peers, the Trust Arts Education Department is also looking forward to the deeper connections we hope to establish with the entire group from the Pittsburgh community. We’ll create new memories and learn about each other while navigating a new country together. From this incredible experience, we can strive to build a stronger community of artists and educators that can make a collective impact in Pittsburgh.

Our first steps into Israel are quickly approaching, as we start off with a tour of the Mishkan Museum of Art (and a prepared falafel lunch en route!). It is safe to say that the ten days are packed with places to visit, people to meet, and lessons to learn.

But most importantly, the Trust Arts Education Department cannot wait to bring it all back to Pittsburgh and do what we do best – integrate authentic arts experiences into classrooms and throughout the community.

Author Note: Seth Laidlaw is a Program Manager of Arts Education at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

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