The Elementary and Intermediate Schools host an Artist in Residence experience each year to provide continuous well-rounded arts experiences for our students. The program features different experiences in second, third, fourth and fifth grades and provides opportunities for students to experience the arts in unique ways each year.
Each year the second grade teachers, elementary principals, elementary art teacher and representatives from the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Media meet to plan the Artist in Residence experience. The concept for the experience is to identify a location in or around the building that may be used as a catalyst for enhancement. From there, a theme is identified and the planning begins! Each second grade student has the opportunity to experience one lesson with the artist. This means that every child in the grade level works on the project under the guidance of the artist and classroom teacher. Additionally, a diagnostic screening and corresponding criteria are created with the guidance of the Elementary Art teacher to identify students who qualify as a member of the “core” group. This group works with the artist each day they are in the building throughout the duration of the residency. Lessons are designed with careful integration of concepts that students are learning in the classroom setting.
Each year the third-grade homeroom teachers, and IS music teacher work together to plan the third-grade Artist in Residence experience. The focus of the third-grade residency is to work with Attack Theatre, a modern dance and movement company. Each third-grade student has the opportunity to experience one thirty-minute meeting with the dancers of Attack Theatre. The dancers use this meeting to instruct the students on how to create dances using their own life experiences and emotions. These sessions illustrate to students how they can create movement art that reflects their lives and emotions.
Additionally, 40 students are chosen, using criteria designed by the artists of Attack Theatre and the IS music teacher with input from the third-grade homeroom teachers, to be members of the two “core” groups. These students work closely with the dancers for nine days throughout the duration of the residency for an in-depth study of movement and arts education.
With the sponsorship from the South Fayette PTA, South Fayette School District Administration, and in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media we welcome five teaching artists for a complete week in early May each year. During this week, all fourth grade students connect with their natural talents, explore new avenues of self-expression, and partake in transformative experiences in the arts. Student artists engage in learning activities focused on five disciplines of the arts. These include music, modern dance, metal working, visual art, and performance art.
During the week, one teaching artist selects 25-30 students for an in-depth core group experience for the following week. The selected students work with the artist from 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. each day in preparation for a final performance. Students are asked to journal and reflect on their experience throughout the program.
Each year the fifth-grade homeroom teachers, and IS art teacher work together to plan the fifth-grade Artist in Residence experience. The focus of the fifth-grade residency is to work with a local artist to further their experience within the arts. The IS art teacher typically chooses a medium that the students don’t get to work with during the school year. Each fifth-grade student has the opportunity to experience one forty-minute meeting with the artist. The IS art teacher and fifth grade teachers select twelve students to participate in the core group of the Artist in Residence program. The artist uses this meeting to instruct the students about a brief overview on the medium they are working with as well as what project the students will be working on. During the residency the students work with the artist for ten days to create a piece of artwork to display in the Intermediate School.