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Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit set for June 17

Apr 5, 2021

The Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Education (IDOE), and Iowa Alliance for Arts Education are joining forces to address the greatest needs of Iowa students, families, and educators.

At the second biennial Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit, to be held online on June 17, arts educators, teaching artists, and education leaders from across the state will gather to learn how 21st century learning skills like creativity, collaboration and social skills can be cultivated through the IDOE’s framework of social and emotional learning.

“Through arts learning, students develop lifelong skills like creativity and problem-solving,” said Chris Kramer, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the Iowa Arts Council. “High-quality arts education involves creative collaboration and leads to innovative thinking that can help strengthen individuals, families, businesses and communities in valuable ways.”

The event’s organizers chose this year’s theme after surveying arts educators and recognizing the IDOE’s new social-emotional learning resources for grades K-12. The IDOE recently released a framework of five Social-Emotional Learning Competencies and related Learning Targets to promote students’ self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

These skills became especially important as students, parents and teachers were challenged to adapt to new routines over the last year. 

“Iowa families and educators have faced many challenges this year in helping their students manage unusual circumstances and develop essential skills to succeed,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo said. “This year’s summit is specifically designed to help arts educators deepen social and learning connections made in the classroom and outside of school.”

The June summit program features an array of breakout sessions and a keynote address from Scott Edgar, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of music at Lake Forest College and director of the Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning.

"We're eager to share new research to show what arts educators have known for years: that the arts help students prepare for success in school, success in work and success in life,” Iowa Alliance for Arts Executive Director Leon Kuehner said.  "The arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education."   

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

”Research from CASEL has shown that participation in SEL programs improved students’ academic performance, ability to manage stress and depression, and classroom behavior, as compared to students who did not participate in such programs.

The summit is designed for educators across all artistic disciplines – dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts – and educators will be eligible to receive relicensure credit for their participation. There is no cost to participate in this year’s virtual event to ensure that everyone has access to professional development in order to reach students in every classroom and corner of the state.

The inaugural Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit, held in 2019, drew more than 400 participants from across Iowa.

Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit

When: June 17, 2021
Where: Virtual
Admission: Complimentary
Program and registration information:

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.