Interludes provide all Academy participants with the opportunity to receive cross-disciplinary training. Multiple workshops in each content area are open to everyone. All participants are expected to attend one 45-minute interlude session each afternoon. The interludes occur from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 2:55 to 3:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2018 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Balloons in the Classroom

Presenter: Sam Cremeens

In this interlude, Sam the Balloon Man (aka Sam Cremeens) will demonstrate the value of using balloons in the classroom, especially in the visual and performing arts. Discussion will include instruction on how to twist a balloon dog (we all have to start with the basics) and how to use balloons as a performing tool.

With fifteen years’ experience as a balloon entertainer, Sam the Balloon Man, is one of Nashville’s premier balloon artists. He performs at more than 300 events every year and travels the world as a renowned instructor of balloon art. Sam the Balloon Man will also perform for the Arts Academy Vendor Fair on Thursday.


Repertoire Sharing: Middle School Choir Grades 6–8

Presenter: Lisa Benton

In this interlude, middle school choral teachers are invited to participate in a short reading session. This time will also be a chance for educators from across the state to share their repertoire selections and teaching tips with each other.

Lisa Benton, a TAA and Belmont University alumnus, currently serves as choral director at Heritage Middle School in Williamson County. During the past twenty years, she has taught middle school choral classes, guitar, piano, and general music. She is excited to host a TAA session that focuses on the unique world of middle school voices.

Academy Chorale

Presenter: Michael Culloton

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Please come and join other participants as the Academy Chorale prepares a program of music to be performed at the Academy luncheon on Friday. The Academy Chorale performs under the direction of Michael Culloton, the Academy’s secondary choral instructor.

Tell the Story with Drama and Dance

Presenter: Sheila Donahue

This interlude will help teachers learn to build movement and dramatic improvisation skills that will encourage their students to develop their interpretations of story songs in the elementary classroom.

Music Therapy Profession: Combining Science and Art

Presenter: Alejandra Ferrer

This session will provide an introduction to the profession of music therapy as an academic field of study. Topics to be discussed will include goals in therapy, settings and populations served, common music therapy interventions, and research outcomes.

Alejandra Ferrer is an assistant professor of music and coordinator of music therapy at Belmont University in Nashville. She is an active member of the American Music Therapy Association and a regular presenter at regional and national conferences on topics related to medical music therapy, program development, and professional issues.

The Progressive Elementary Music Room

Presenter: Tony Hartman and Ryan Stewart

This workshop will explore techniques for building a musically proficient general music program.

Tony Hartman is an educator, composer, and performer based in Middle Tennessee. In 2017, he was named District Teacher of the Year for Murfreesboro City Schools. Hartman earned his bachelor degrees in music education and Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University. He is thrilled to spend his days teaching kindergarten to sixth grade general music, beginning band, and Steel de Boro—an after-school steel drum band. An avid composer, some of Hartman’s compositions have been published through Row-loff Productions.

Ryan Stewart is a general music specialist at Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro. His kindergarten through sixth grade students have enjoyed numerous opportunities for learning and creating music with the help of Orff percussion instruments, guitars, Strumsticks, a piano lab, and even an iPad lab purchased with the help of the Bruning Foundation Grant. Stewart is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and recently obtained his masters of education with a focus in educational leadership. He regularly composes original works for his students to perform in concerts.

Singing Dances from Eastern Europe: Different Modes and Meters

Presenter: Karen Howard

Explore the tradition of singing while performing simple folk dances from the countries of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. Participants will explore music in 7/8 and 9/8, both common meters in the Balkan region of Eastern Europe. Musical characteristics and instrumentation specific to particular regions will be explored.

The Four Cs and the Ph.D. to Becoming a Successful Teacher

Presenter: Quincy Hilliard

This session will explore the traits that are essential to being a successful teacher. It’s not rocket science, but just plain old common sense. These traits enable teachers to motivate their students and help them achieve success—not only in the classroom, but long after the student is gone from the school.

Singing for the Joy of Singing

Presenter: Julie Scott

Whether it’s at a place of worship, an all-school assembly, or a summer camp, all human beings should be given opportunities to raise their voices in song, solely for the pleasure of singing. These large-group choral settings, where songs are usually taught by repetition or rote, provide excellent opportunities for people of all ages to experience the wonderful sounds of harmony. Participants should attend this session prepared to sing rounds and part-songs that are accessible to all people—regardless of musical background—and just for the joy of it!

An Introduction to the Carillon and its Music

Presenter: Richard Shadinger

Participants will hear a brief program of music played on Belmont’s forty-three bell carillon. After the program, there will be an opportunity to see the carillon as well as a demonstration explaining how this unique and rare instrument is played.

Richard Shadinger’s teaching career at Belmont University spanned more than forty years—from 1974 through May 2018, when he officially retired. During his time at Belmont, he taught musicology, piano, and church music, and served as associate dean for the School of Music. He recently completed a book called Music on the Beautiful Mountain: A History of Music at Belmont.

From the Beginning—This Time with a Little More iPad and a Little Less Trombone

Presenter: Chad West

Technology could never replace music teachers, but it does offer them a much-needed partner. This session will explore the ways music educators are leveraging technologies to provide meaningful, democratic, and culturally relevant music experiences for students. Technology can be helpful especially in instances where time, class size, and funds for traditional instruments are prohibitive.

Beyond the Method Book: Developing Musicianship in Performing Ensembles

Presenter: Chad West

How many times have music teachers pleaded with students to subdivide, or wondered why students can’t hear that missed accidental? While most students generally do a great job with technique and notation, many are missing the internal musicianship components that make high-level ensemble participation possible. This session presents activities for developing students’ tonal, rhythmic, and creative abilities while developing their instrumental technique and notation reading skills.


Costuming: Seeing the Potential in Secondhand Textiles

Presenter: Nicole Arnold

(Tuesday and Thursday)
In this session, Nicole Arnold will demonstrate ways of creating period and creative costumes from gently used treasures, while using limited or no sewing. The course will include a make-and-take component.

Nicole Arnold is a special education and theater teacher at Nashville Christian School. She also serves as the president and frequent director of productions for Cheatham County Community Theater. Arnold considers the Arts Academy to be one of her “happy places” and is excited to share her passion for costuming with fellow participants.

Theatre Curriculum Caring and Sharing: Kindergarten through Sixth Grade

Presenter: Nancy Beard and Nancy Essary

In this interlude, kindergarten through sixth grade teachers are encouraged to come and share their favorite classroom activities, teaching tips, and theatre lesson plans with other teachers from across the state. Theatre facilitators Nancy Beard and Nancy Essary will lead the session.

Nancy Beard teaches at Shady Grove Elementary School in the Shelby County Schools district, where she works with students who are English language learners. Prior to this position, she taught Orff Music in the Memphis and Shelby County schools. She has also taught band, chorus, and general music in Illinois and Kentucky. After having a wonderful time attending the TAA drama sessions as a participant, Beard decided to change roles and join the Academy staff as a facilitator.

Nancy Essary teaches second grade at Thurman Francis Arts Academy, a magnet school in Rutherford County where she integrates the arts into general classroom education. In the past, Essary has enjoyed taking part in many of the Tennessee Arts Academy’s summer institutes. This year, she is participating as a facilitator with the elementary drama staff.

A Model Way to Design Your Next Show

Presenter: Andy Bleiler

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Building a set model is the perfect way of understanding the three-dimensional space in which a live show takes place. Not only does it help a designer plan the scenery, but also helps them figure out where and how the set pieces are stored when they are not onstage. Participants in this workshop will come away with a better understanding of working in scale, how to measure a theatre, how to use inexpensive materials for a model, and tricks that will make a model look more professional. This type of preparation is important for anyone who likes to plan ahead, as well as for those who only dream of it.

Andy Bleiler is a passionate arts educator whose career has spanned thirty years as a teacher, designer, technician, director, and performer. He has been a professor at Tennessee State University and a teaching artist for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. He has worked as scenic designer for Vanderbilt Opera Theatre, Blackbird Theatre, and Street Theatre. Bleiler is currently an assistant professor of theatre at Lipscomb University where he serves the theatre department as its scenic designer and technical theatre director.

Myth Making: Combining Science and Story

Presenter: Cherri Coleman

Learn how your students can quickly write an original myth that combines science, social studies, and English language arts skills in a way that is both fun and effective. The presenter will share a myth with participants. Then, they will write collaboratively and explore the various ways individual students could take this writing activity. This program is an excerpt from “The Tennessee Armillary Sundial: Science, Symbol, Art, and Identity,” commissioned for the governor’s residence by Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam. Each teacher will receive a printed copy of the full unit, with expansions and a field trip guide.

Sing Me a Story: Teaching Children with Special Needs

Presenter: Cherri Coleman

Storysongs are masterpieces of brain science that can give a voice to students with verbal challenges. Participants will discover ways that an arts integrated classroom can be truly inclusive as they sing and explore plot, sequence, character, and a little bit of neural story science. Each participant will receive a copy of the “Sing Me a Story” lessons from the book Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs. The book itself will be available for purchase at the session.

Cherri Coleman, of Fairy Godmother Productions, has been supporting the dreams of young artists and educators for more than thirty years. As a choreographer, storyteller, creativity coach, and curriculum writer, Coleman has produced and directed more than 150 student-led dance and storytelling performances, interpreted art through story for Nashville’s Frist Art Museum and coached young performers for careers on Broadway, in film, and in music.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Young Players (Grades K–6)

Presenter: Denice Hicks

Participants will discuss and explore a one-hour edit of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that is specifically designed for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. During the session, Denice Hicks will also share her experiences directing this show in several different venues. After the workshop, interested participants may request that the edited text be sent to them by email.

Julius Caesar: Entry Points for Middle and High School Students (Grades 5–12)

Presenter: Denice Hicks

Participants will explore Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s winter offering for January 2019) to find scenes and excerpts that will resonate with their students.

Denice Hicks is the executive artistic director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. She has been acting, editing, and directing professionally since 1976, and she has produced more than fifty productions of Shakespeare’s plays.

New Elementary and Middle School Scripts from TRW—Theatre Rights Worldwide!

Presenter: Jim Hoare

In this session, free perusal scripts will be distributed to all participants. Young@Part, the authorized edition of TRW’s Broadway musicals for middle schools and Younger@Part for elementary schools, will be introduced to participants. Licensing expert Jim Hoare will describe the many advantages and possibilities for producing a Young@Part show. Titles that will be reviewed include The Addams Family, All Shook Up, Curtains, Spamalot, and Miss Nelson is Missing, the Musical. During the workshop, questions and concerns about the theatrical licensing process will also be addressed.

New High School Edition Scripts from TRW—Theatre Rights Worldwide!

Presenter: Jim Hoare

In this session, free perusal scripts will be distributed to all participants. Approved changes, creative casting suggestions (use more girls), low-tech production resources, props, sets, SFX, accompaniment tracks, and projections will be discussed. School editions for Beehive (10 female soloists and expandable chorus), The Addams Family, Spamalot, Ghost, Curtains, Ring of Fire, and We Will Rock You will be introduced. During the workshop, questions and concerns about the theatrical licensing process will also be addressed.

Jim Hoare, vice president of Theatrical Rights Worldwide, taught and directed theatre for thirty-one years. He has presented workshops throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2011, he received the New York State Theatre Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This is Hoare’s forty-first year in educational theatre.

Power of the Puppet: History and Performance

Presenter: Brian Hull

In this interlude, participants will join Brian Hull as he shares a brief history of world puppetry and a look at the power of performing with puppets. The workshop will include live examples, and participants will also have the opportunity to try a few puppets themselves.

Power of the Puppet: Making Puppets

Presenter: Brian Hull

In this interlude, Brian Hull will demonstrate puppets that can be made by students. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore their own puppet-making skills.

Brian Hull founded Wishing Chair Puppet Productions at the Nashville Public Library in 1997 and has written, produced, and performed in many original shows. He has traveled to France, Germany, and Italy with his programs. Hull is artistic director of Nashville's International Puppet Festivals as well as writer and director of Dollywood’s award-winning Imagination Library shows.

Theatre Curriculum Caring and Sharing: Seventh through Twelfth Grade

Presenter: Jennifer Keith and Pollyanna Parker

Upper middle school and high school participants are encouraged to share their favorite classroom activities, teaching tips, and theatre lesson plans with other teachers from across the state. Theatre facilitators Jennifer Keith and Pollyanna Parker will lead the session.

Jennifer Keith is the founder of the drama program at Grassland Middle School in the Williamson County school system, where she also teaches. In 2014, she was named teacher of the year by the faculty of Grassland for all of her work both in and out of the classroom. Keith is an avid traveler who regularly brings her global experiences back to her students and her curriculum.

Pollyanna Parker was inducted into the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League’s Hall of Fame in 2010 and is a past recipient of that organization’s Ruby Krider Teacher of the Year Award. Parker teaches at Rossview High School in Clarksville, where she was named teacher of the year in 2015.

Ready, Set, Yes!

Presenter: Noah Martin

(Monday and Wednesday)
In this fun, on-your-feet improv workshop, participants of all experience levels will learn how to launch into an improv scene without fear. The session will include practice with scene-building techniques, such as “strong offers” and “playing through a character.”

Experimental Drama for the Classroom

Presenter: Mary McAvoy

(Monday and Wednesday)
Mary McAvoy will lead participants through a series of exercises that have been adapted from performance art and experimental drama for use in kindergarten to twelfth-grade classrooms. These exercises, which will include Ann Bogart and Tina Landau’s Viewpoints method, will show participants how to develop strategies for engaging with complex grey-area ideas. Embodied learning, techniques for bringing abstract concepts to life, and devising new and interdisciplinary performances are among the topics and approaches that will be explored. Ideas presented in this session are ones that can be adapted for a wide variety of subject areas and arts disciplines as well as for process and product focused lessons.

De-excite to Ignite: Meditation and Creativity

Presenter: Mark Price

(Monday and Wednesday)
This is a practical exploration into the benefits of meditation and how it affects creativity—no crystals, yoga pants, or sage sticks required! In this session, participants will review some basic breathing and relaxation tools and also discuss how to introduce a practice like meditation into the classroom.

Shaking Up Shakespeare

Presenter: Lauren Smith

(Monday and Wednesday)
This interlude will offer participants several interactive strategies to help their students understand and analyze Shakespeare’s texts. These activities will help students of any age learn how to bring their authentic experiences to classic texts.

Breathe, Dance, Laugh: Folk Dancing for Fun and Profit (!)

Presenter: Kevin S. Warner

(Monday and Wednesday)
This session will guide participants through several experiential activities, which will demonstrate the powerful role that folk dance can have as a catalyst for affirmation, celebration, and fun. All participants are welcome—classroom educators, arts advocates, and arts enthusiasts alike. No prior dance experience is required to come to this workshop.

A Brief Introduction to Estill Voice International

Presenter: Brad Willcuts

(Monday and Wednesday)
From Hammerstein to Hamilton, the Estill Voice method is an incredible tool for students of all ages who want to improve their singing, their vocal health, and their overall understanding of vocal anatomy.

Theatre Connections

Presenter: Theatre Core Faculty

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Theatre instructors will be in their classrooms to answer specific questions about their sessions and to provide one-on-one time with participants who desire additional information about theatre related issues or arts education concerns.


Easy Multicolor Monotypes

Presenter: Donna Anderson

This session will provide an introduction to multicolor monotype printing. A short introduction to the lesson will include examples of student images and explanations of how the prints were made. Participants will be given the supplies to create their own monotype print.

Donna Anderson is a retired Knox County art teacher who has taught in public schools for more than forty years. She is the author of the high school textbook Experience Printmaking, which is part of the Studio Series from Davis Publications. Anderson continues to teach workshops for both students and teachers.

Papergami: Radial Paper Relief Sculptures

Presenter: Lauren Cochran

(Monday and Wednesday)
This session will show participants how to create radial paper relief sculptures—called papergami—by using Origami-style paper-folding techniques. During the session, participants will create their own beautiful sculptures. A short introduction to the lesson will include a video of the four basic paper-folding techniques participants uses to create the papergami works. Participants will be provided with the supplies to produce their own finished examples, which they can then take back to their classrooms.

Lauren Cochran is an art educator with more than ten years of experience in public schools and non-profit arts organizations in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Cochran currently serves at Liberty Elementary, a Title 1 school in the Franklin Special School District, where she spends her days encouraging and guiding little artists to be their best and most creative selves.

Microscopic Worlds

Presenter: Jim Dodson

This workshop is designed for Visual Art Recognition Day student attendees.

Participants in this workshop will create abstracted compositions that rely on imagery found in the microscopic world. In the session, images of viruses, bacteria, cells, strands of DNA, and other objects will be layered and combined to bring together the fields of visual art and science. The lesson Jim Dodson will share is one he has successfully used in his own hometown as a true STEAM project. Participants should bring their smart phones to the workshop since they will use them to acquire the images for their compositions.

Since 1987, Jim Dodson has been an art teacher in the Oak Ridge school system. In 1998, he was recognized as the Tennessee Art Educator of the Year, and in 1999, he was named the National Middle School Art Educator of the Year. Dodson is a board member and past president of the Tennessee Art Education Association. He also currently serves on the board of Dogwood Arts in East Tennessee.

Collage Animal Portraits

Presenter: Kathy McMillan

(Monday and Wednesday)
In this two-part interlude, participants will create an animal collage portrait in a new and exciting way. The first session will include gluing marbled paper to a mat board and creating the eyes and nose of an animal using Indian ink and oil pastels. The second session will focus on painting in the details with acrylic paint and Indian ink. This lesson can be modified for all age groups.

Kathy McMillan has been teaching middle school art for twelve years and previously taught elementary art for five years in the Tullahoma City Schools in Tennessee. In 2017, she taught an interlude at TAA. In 2016, she was named Tennessee Art Education Association Middle Level Art Educator of the Year.

Basquiat Flower Vase: A Still-life Dichotomy

Presenter: Jordan Miernik-Walker

(Monday and Wednesday)
This session will explore the parallels between life dichotomies and the topics presented in the works of artist Jean Michel Basquiat. This is a hands-on collage project geared to open discussion and mixed media use. As stated in the title, this is a still-life project where observation meets emotion.

Jorden Miernik-Walker is a visual art instructor in the Shelby County School system in Memphis. This is her third year at Snowden Elementary and her twelfth year working in the arts. She received a degree in photography and sculpture, and a masters in art education from the Memphis College of Art.

Gentle Flow, Restorative Yoga

Presenter: Rachel Motta

(Tuesday and Wednesday)
In this session, participants will have the opportunity to relax their bodies and minds and get their creative juices going with some gentle flow and restorative yoga. Rachel Motta will lead a practice that includes easy yoga poses along with some meditation to offer a bit of quiet during a very exciting week. Participants will need to bring their own mats.

Rachel Motta is an elementary art educator and certificated yoga instructor who specializes in restorative yoga. Motta became a yoga instructor after researching yoga and mindfulness in the art classroom for her master’s degree at Boston University. She regularly practices mindfulness with her students at Cane Ridge Elementary and currently teaches restorative yoga at Gold’s Gym in Smryna, Tennessee.


Presenter: David Reynolds

Participants who wish to practice their tie-dye skills may bring their TAA apron to this enjoyable workshop and produce a unique and wearable work of art.

David Reynolds is the art teacher at Moore Elementary School in Franklin, Tennessee, where he has served for six years. In addition to teaching, Reynolds is a freelance graphic designer and video editor. This is his second year to serve as a facilitator for the Tennessee Arts Academy.

Solarized Photographs and Ray-o-Grams

Presenter: Christine Rogers

(Monday and Wednesday)
In this workshop, participants will learn how to create solarized photographs and ray-o-grams. Both types of prints are made using experimental darkroom techniques. No previous experience is necessary for this hands-on session.

Christina Rogers is an assistant professor of photography at Belmont University. She has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, including a two-person show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, in the fall of 2012. Rogers has lectured on her work at various institutions such as Vanderbilt University, Watkins College, Chitrakala Parishath in Bangalore, and the Cooper Union in New York.

Art Therapy in Schools and Communities: Building Partnerships with Art Therapists

Presenter: Paige Scheinberg

What is art therapy? Where does art therapy take place? How can educators, administrators, and parents create partnerships with art therapists to meet the mental, emotional, and behavioral needs of students in Tennessee? In this session, a credentialed art therapist will address these frequently asked questions. She will also present case examples about ways that art therapists have worked with schools and communities across the state. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about connecting with local art therapists and advocating for art therapy programs and services in their own schools.

When Art Crosses the Line: Therapeutic Considerations from an Art Therapist

Presenter: Paige Scheinberg

What do you do when you see student art that seems to express a personal need or a challenging emotion or experience? How do you talk to the student about their art? Should you talk to parents, school administrators, and counselors, as well as show them the art? In this session, a credentialed art therapist will explore therapeutic considerations and skills for art educators. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about what to do and how to know when student art expresses a therapeutic need.

Paige Scheinberg is a Memphis-based, registered art therapist who has worked with art therapy clients of all ages in community, medical, and private settings, including the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and West Cancer Center. She is also the governmental affairs committee co-chair and West Tennessee regional chair of the Tennessee Art Therapy Association.

TAA Participant Visual Art Lesson Plan Swap

Presenter: Kim Shamblin

This session is an opportunity for TAA participants to share their ideas, tips and techniques with each other. Interested participants should bring twenty-five copies of their favorite lesson plan to swap with their peers. Please also bring examples or pictures of completed projects to share during this time period. This session will be a great opportunity to network and pick up new ideas.

Kim Shamblin, a facilitator for the Tennessee Arts Academy for the past ten years, has been teaching art to children for the past twenty-three years. She teaches at Millington elementary school in Millington Tennessee and was named Tennessee Art Education Association Middle level Art Teacher of the Year in 2016.

Empty Bowls for Title I

Presenter: Allison Swanner

This session will show teachers how to organize their own Title 1 elementary school Empty Bowls program. Participants will discuss the logistics of hand building bowls in their kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, hear the story Stone Soup, and learn how to create an unforgettable community event. This twist on this Empty Bowls program is that it will allow students and families from low-income backgrounds to participate in giving back as well as benefiting from an inexpensive Stone Soup dinner.

Allison Swanner is an elementary art teacher with ten years of experience teaching in East Tennessee. She is also the director of the Exceptional Artist Art Camp that hosts more than 130 elementary students each summer. Swanner connects art with her community through events such as Family Art Night, Empty Bowls, a system-wide formal art show, and summer camps.

Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

Presenter: Christopher Taylor

This session will give participants a way to help teach students the concept of building empathy through art and interaction with their peers. The session will begin with a brief introduction to the artist Antonio Pacitti and the topic of empathy. Then participants will begin a sketch of their own altered shoe. Paper and colored pencils will be provided.

Christopher Taylor is in his fourth year of teaching art. He currently works at Richland Elementary in the Shelby County Schools system in Memphis, Tennessee.

Visual Art Studio Connections

Presenter: Visual Art Faculty

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Visual art participants may use this time to continue working in the studio, talking with their instructors, or networking with fellow teachers about issues and concerns related to the arts and arts education.