Growing Through the Arts

We talked with Samantha Gassel, a recent graduate of Emerson’s Theatre Education: Non-Performance program, on her view of the arts in education. Samantha is currently student teaching high school students in Chicago and knows firsthand the value of the arts in schools.

“Arts in education is not only teaching arts, it is using the arts in other subjects as a teaching tool. Not only is this an excellent tool, as it utilizes the ideas of multiple intelligences and ways of learning, but it is also a great way to keep the arts alive in schools where specialized art programs have been cut.”

Samantha considers herself both lucky and inspired by her own theatre experiences from school, particularly that of her high school. “After seeing how advanced a public high school program could be, and seeing how amazing my teachers were, I knew that I had to be a theatre teacher,” Samantha said. “I would love to teach at a school like my old high school, but I would also be thrilled to provide the opportunities I had at my high school to other schools that do not have such developed programs.”

Samantha Richert (third from right, front) poses with others at “Seize The Stage”

Throughout the past few years, Samantha has taken the initiative to create, direct, perform, and design “Seize The Stage” a musical benefit raising money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. This past summer the benefit raised $3,600. Based on her experience, Samantha believes “benefits are wonderful for students to do, because benefits can help teach them that the arts can be used for the good of the public.”

Samantha advises those pursuing a career in education to never give up, even during times of doubt. Through perseverance and a commitment to educating others, you will “learn so much about theatre, the arts, other subjects, life skills, and yourself.”

Samantha leaves us with a few words of wisdom that reaffirm her love of arts in education. “Teaching the arts is a great way for you to continually learn about who you are and what you stand for.”

1 comment for “Growing Through the Arts

  1. September 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Great post about using the arts as a teaching tool for other aspects of students lives. The concept of giving back to the community, by producing a benefit event give them first hand knowledge about how they can provide a tool that will benefit the students, charitable organizations, and the community around them.

    Not only that, however, the value in learning how to produce and promote an event can be an invaluable lesson for the students’ future, should they decide to pursue the arts as a profession.

    It was certainly my experience, trying to develop a career as a professional musician that I had no clue, outside of auditioning for orchestras and ensembles, how to get work.

    In the creative industry, marketing is something that needs to be taught through the developing years. It’s my opinion that if there were some requirements for arts students to learn business skills, the classification of “starving artist” would not be as prevalent as it is today.

    I applaud your efforts in exposing your students to other aspects of the arts community, and the values that can be gained by teaching the community building and business aspects of art creation.

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