BYU Arts Bridge Program Connects Students and Teachers Through Arts Integration

The BYU Arts Bridge Program officially concluded a successful season with a large celebration on Thursday, January 10. Arts Bridge, housed within the BYU ARTS Partnership, is a program which serves both BYU students from various artistic disciplines— including music, drama, visual art, and dance— and public school classroom teachers, allowing them to work together to develop their artistic and teaching skills through arts instruction and arts integration in local public schools. For the duration of the fall 2018 semester, 25 students called Arts Bridge Scholars were engaged in this teaching process, working with mentors in their disciplines as well as public school classroom teachers to integrate their art forms with traditional academic subjects. To conclude their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments, these students and classroom teachers met together to present what they had learned and enjoy an evening of enriching collaboration and artistic expression.

“I felt so grateful to be a part of this program as I listened to classroom teachers and BYU Arts Bridge Scholars express immense gratification for being able to explore new teaching skills, build new relationships, share in meaningful artistic experiences, and witness new pathways to student success in the classroom through the implementation of arts instruction,” said Heather Francis, director of the Arts Bridge Program.

As the scholars gave presentations together with the classroom teachers who have been their partners, the benefits of this collaborative project were clear to all involved. Many classroom teachers expressed their gratitude to the scholars for teaching them strategies for integrating the arts into their classrooms. The scholars, in turn, also expressed their appreciation for having the chance to learn classroom management and other important teaching skills from seasoned professionals in the “real world” of public school teaching.

“The program helped me prepare for pre-student teaching and get over the jitters of teaching in a real classroom,” Kiersten Hopkins, an Arts Bridge Music Scholar, shared as part of her presentation. “It taught me how to collaborate with a teacher and gave me confidence in my abilities to be creative and think on the spot. I’m so thankful I had this opportunity and now feel much more excited and sure that I love teaching and want to continue on this path!”

To learn more about the Arts Bridge Program, read blogs written by the Arts Bridge Scholars detailing their experiences at our website BYU students with an interest in teaching the arts in public schools can apply to be an Arts Bridge Scholar on this webpage as well. Applications for next year’s Arts Bridge Program will begin February 4, 2019.

Written by Sarah Earl, Arts Bridge Scholar and Student Coordinator

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