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 2:20 to 3:05 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.


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.

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 has spanned more than forty years—from 1974 through May 2018, when he will retire. During his time at Belmont, he has 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.

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.


Gentle Flow, Restorative Yoga

Presenter: Rachel Motta

(Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
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.

Fast Tech/ Slow Clay

Presenter: Quintin Owens

(Monday and Wednesday)
What is a ceramic 3D printer, and what are some of the ways it’s being integrated into existing studio practices? While no one was looking, clay has become an interesting material output of 3D design software, 3D printers, and CNC machines. 3D printing with clay explores how the slow, tactile, and finicky material intersects with the seamlessness and swift adaptability of code. A demonstration will be given on how to integrate clay and plastic 3D printers into a clay program.

Quintin Owens is an assistant professor at Belmont University. His work explores how memories are gathered and bundled as placeholders for both familiar and mythic experiences. He has a special interest in clay as a material and is currently investigating how digital tools offer an opportunity for ceramics to engage in a larger dialogue by using a larger lens to explore the way objects are produced in our culture.

Empty Bowls for Title I

Presenter: Allison Swanner

(Monday and Wednesday)
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.