Published: September 9th, 2019


Happy National Arts in Education Week! September 8-14th 2019

Arts Education has a huge impact on Arizonans! From providing us with vibrate, creative public spaces to enjoy, to providing students with supportive, caring environments to explore their self expression, to laying the foundation for the future of the creative industries sector– it is clear that arts education deeply matters.

Since 2010, House Resolution 275 has designated the week beginning the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education joins together to tell the story of the impact and power of the arts in education.

This year ADE’s Office of Arts Education, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, Act One, The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts asked for videos telling your stories of how arts education impacts the lives of Arizonans. The #BecauseofArtsEd2019 video below resulted from your responses.

It’s not too late to add your story on social media during Arts in Education Week about the impact Arts Education had on your life using the hashtag #BecauseofArtsEd! How are you celebrating National Arts in Education Week? Take pictures of celebration events and tag them with the hashtag #ArtsEdWeek. What’s going on in Arizona? Tag your Arizona events with the hashtag #AZArtsEd!

Stay tuned for more exciting updates this week from ADE’s Office of Arts Education to celebrate 2019 National Arts in Education Week.

Posted in Opportunities, Spotlight, State of the Arts, What's New In The Arts? | Tagged , , |
Published: August 26th, 2019

Online PD & Resources for Visual Arts Educators: The Art of Education University

The Art of Education University is an online platform specializing in content and resources for visual art teachers, some completely free of charge. Their mission is to grow amazing art teachers at every stage of their career. You can subscribe to their magazine and podcast, or download lesson plans completely for FREE. Their content is developed by art teachers for the professional development of art teachers.

Additional paid content The Art of Education University offers includes:

  • An on-demand PD platform Art of Ed PRO that allows access to PD on a daily basis
  • A 100% online Art Ed NOW conference to help arts teachers develop and grow professionally
  • An affordable Masters Degree in Visual Arts Education through their DEAC accredited university

Check out free resources for your classroom!

Share this video as a way to advocate for teacher access to Art of Ed PRO at your school, or district!


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Published: August 7th, 2019

The Molly Blank Fund- ASU Gammage Teaching Artist Roster

After a year of training facilitated by ASU Gammage in The Kennedy Center’s arts integration method, the first cohort of The Molly Blank Fund Teaching Artists are available to work in schools. If you are looking to infuse the arts in your classroom, these teaching artists are trained and ready to share their artistic disciplines with students in ways that meet classroom learning objectives.

The Office of Arts Education is so excited to announce that the first cohort of The Molly Blank Fund Teaching Artists has been published in this roster. Check it out and imagine the creative possibilities in the classroom!

MBF ASU Gammage Teaching Artists Roster

For more information about the Teaching Artists Roster or The Molly Blank Fund Teaching Artists Program please contact [email protected]

Posted in Opportunities, Spotlight, Uncategorized, What's New In The Arts? | Tagged , , , , |
Published: July 10th, 2019

AZ Office of Arts Education Releases 18-19 Year End Report


It has been a busy year at The Office of Arts Education.

Some of the highlights:

  • A State Arts Proficiency Diploma Seal Became Law
  • Media Arts Courses Were Added to the Arizona Course Catalogue
  • Over 300 students showcased their artistic voice at the 2019 ESSA Conference
  • Arts Educators of the Year were Celebrated During Youth Arts Month
  • Conferences and Various Professional Development Trainings Were Provided Across the State
  • New Data Provided the Clearest Picture Yet of who has Access to Arts Education in Arizona

We want to celebrate the momentum in Arts Education in our state with you. This year we are thrilled to release our first annual Arts Education Year End Report. We hope you will take time to read about some of the going ons in Arizona Arts Education.

18-19 Arizona Department of Education Arts Education Year End Report

You can also find this report housed on the Arts Education Website under Research & Advocacy

As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, we want to thank you for your shared commitment to quality Arts Education experiences for Arizona students. We look forward to collaborating to advance arts education in the state of Arizona.

Wishing you a year full of imagination,



Posted in Arts Associations Updates, Spotlight, State of the Arts, Uncategorized, What's New In The Arts? | Tagged , , |
Published: June 12th, 2019

Susan Griffin Recognized as National Dance Education Organization 2019 Outstanding Dance Educator (PreK-12)

Today the National Dance Education Organization Announced the 2019 Award Recipients including Arizona’s Susan Griffin from Phoenix Union. Congratulations Susan! Thank you for all you’ve done for Arizona students over the years.

2019 NDEO National Award Recipients

Lifetime Achievement – Naima Prevots

Outstanding Dance Educator (PreK-12) – Susan Griffin

Outstanding Leadership – Barry Blumenfeld

Outstanding Dance Education Researcher – Wendy Oliver and Marijeanne Liederbach

NDEO will honor the National Award recipients at the Grand Opening Dinner of the 2019 NDEO National Conference in Miami, Florida in October.

Susan Griffin has taught dance to students at every age and level since she graduated from Rutgers University in 1976. She was an Associate Instructor while she pursued her master’s degree at Indiana University and taught as a member of professional dance companies in Bloomington, IN, and Rochester, NY. She taught dance and created choreography at the University of Rochester and Centre College, and taught at Arizona State University. She was the dance teacher at Mineral Springs Elementary School (NC) before joining the faculty of South Mountain High School in Phoenix, AZ, where she has been teaching since 2003. She is active in developing dance curriculum and assessment both for Phoenix and statewide for Arizona. She has served AzDEO, NDEO’s state affiliate in Arizona, and NDEO in various capacities since 2006 and was president of AzDEO from 2009-2011. AzDEO named her the Katherine Lindholm Lane Dance Educator of the Year in 2014. That same year, Phoenix Union High School District recognized her as the Teacher of the Year for the entire district in all subject areas. Graduates of her program in Phoenix have gone on to become successful teachers and performers, including one student who is dancing with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Excerpt from Student Support Letter:

“She was a mentor, a counselor, a mom, a cheerleader, and so much more. Walking into her class, you knew you were going to learn more than just dance. Her studio was a safe place that fostered teamwork, leadership, creativity, and diversity. Her approach to dance was not one-sided. She encouraged us to use our voices and bodies to express how we felt. She invited individuality while teaching us how to work as a collective. There was always a greater message behind every piece she created for us. From immigration to border patrol and self respect, her choreography was accompanied by research and facts. She took us to see dance outside of the classroom. She welcomed the hard conversations and answered the tough questions. She taught us movements along with the steps.”

Posted in Arts Associations Updates, Spotlight, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , |
Published: May 6th, 2019

Arizona Dance Education Organization (AzDEO) Announces 2019 State Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Awardees


AzDEO is proud to announce that ten students earned our state level Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement award:


  • Alexis Jackson from Centennial High School
  • Amanda Carter from Desert Ridge High School
  • Ashley Reafleng from Valley Vista High School
  • Desiree Berry from Highland High School
  • Kamryn Smith from Desert Mountain High School
  • Inai Luevano Palomera, Jordyn Lugo, and Maire Grimes from Apollo High School
  • Kaithlyn Nathan and Sidney Torres from Washington High School.

AzDEO adjudicates a state level Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award to any Arizona NHSDA High School student who applies to the National Dance Education Organization’s National Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award, the highest student dance award in the nation. 

These students represent the best in dance and this award highlights their exemplary hard work, and the wonderful job our high school teachers do every day. Congratulations to the students and their teachers.


Posted in Arts Associations Updates, Spotlight, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , |
Published: April 17th, 2019

Mesa Arts Academy Sends Arizona Egg Design for the 141st White House Easter Egg Roll



Mesa Arts Academy will represent Arizona next week at the White House Easter Egg Roll with an original Easter egg design for the state. This year’s 141st White House Easter Egg Roll will take place on Monday April 22nd and is a tradition dating back to 1878.

Pictured here are students Christhian Valenzuela & Elizabeth Cleland working on the design for this year’s Arizona Easter Egg. Thank you to the students and teachers at Mesa Arts Academy for sharing your talents to represent our state at this celebration!


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Published: April 1st, 2019

Celebrating Excellence in Dance Education

Tiffany White, Dance Director at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, was awarded the 2019 Katherine Lindholm Lane Arizona Dance Educator of the Year Award at the annual Arizona High School Dance Festival at Desert Ridge High School, March 2nd.  This award honors a teacher for demonstrating support for and contributing to the larger dance education community, inspiring students and colleagues through example, enthusiasm and encouragement, and advocating for quality dance education and the arts.  Tiffany truly exemplifies these characteristics in her teaching and by her involvement in the dance community. 

Tiffany White started dancing at the age of 3 in New Jersey before attending Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond where she earned her BFA in Dance & Choreography and BS in Creative Advertising. In 2013, Tiffany moved to Arizona and immediately became the Dance Director & Pom Line Coach of San Tan Foothills High School and Mountain Vista Middle School in Florence USD. She earned her Master’s in Education from University of Arizona in 2015 and is now in her 2nd year as Dance Director at Mesquite High School in the Gilbert Public School District. Tiffany has worked on the Revision Committee of the Arizona Department of Education Arts Standards and the Student Learning Objectives Assessment Team. She is the Secretary of the Arizona Dance Education Organization (AzDEO) and serves as a volunteer on the State High School Dance Festival and Professional Development Committees. She has spoke to state legislatures at AZ Arts Congress, presented work at the AZ Superintendents Association Conference, and served in a support position for the National Core Arts Standards Pilot program. Currently, Tiffany is working on her Master’s in School Counseling from Prescott College, all while taking care of her active one-year old son Jason.

Posted in Arts Associations Updates, Spotlight, Uncategorized | Tagged , , |
Published: April 1st, 2019

Create Academy partners with Rising Youth Theatre to Implement a “Theatre for Healthy Emotional Development” Program

As April begins, we are sneaking in a few more highlights to celebrate Arizona Youth Arts Month. We are excited to highlight how theatre programming at an Arizona school contributes to social and emotional learning and positive school climate at Create Academy.  

“Theatre for Healthy Emotional Development” is an arts-based residency run by Rising Youth Theatre in partnership with Create Academy, a Phoenix elementary school. Rising Youth Theatre teaching artists engage students in learning and practicing healthy personal, interpersonal, and social skills. These critical skills support academic learning, and lead to a long-term positive relationship with school. Theatre skills are the program foundation, providing participants with an emotional “toolbox” for this critical work. The entire school community is involved in the project. Artists use storytelling, interactive installations, improvisation, and collaboration tools with students as they practice being engaged citizens of their school and neighborhood. The program extends into the neighborhood through a unique partnership with Social Spin, a local laundromat. This partnership brings the learnings into home spaces as well, bridging into community spaces where families, health, education, and youth development intersect. Now in its second year, this program has resulted in a higher student retention rate, reduced instances of bullying, and increased youth participating in peer to peer advocacy and a higher competency related to healthy social-emotional skills and behaviors.

In order to share the experience of this program, school Principal Kelly Horn, Rising Youth Apprentice Teaching Artist Ty Muhammad, and 5th grade student Annabelle had a conversation about the program as they experience it:

How would you describe the theatre program at Create Academy?

A: Whenever I’m in theatre, I learn how to communicate better. We learn how to do drama, we practice different scenes, tableaux, and different games related to theatre. It helps students understand how to learn better to listen to each other.

K: We define the theatre program here as one of our artists in residence which means that we’ve got these guest artists lare specialists in theatre and the particular case with Rising Youth is that the theatre shares a mission for social activism like our school does. This is an important and very unique partnership. The ultimate goal of the program is that we partner with [Rising Youth Theatre] in creating not only a happier and healthier school community but that the impact of our works help to connect our school to the larger community as well.

T: I completely agree! I would also say it is about how the students connect to each other and interact with each other, as Annabelle mentioned. Students are able to learn how to listen to each other, to learn from each other, and to use theatre games and practices to give attention to things that are important to them. And also the way that y’all talk are able to resolve conflict in general.

What’s your favorite memory from the two years you’ve seen/experienced the program?

A: I like, when last year, when we did tableaux event where we invited parents and we practiced it and we kept practicing it again and again and again and we didn’t get to use props because it was our first time but we did get to record it [for practice] and we performed it in front of everyone on the last day of school.

K: I remember, last year, it was I think at the spring festival when we had parents in the audience as well and each of the grades were doing a little bit of what they’ve learned over the year. And there were a couple of moments that really jumped out at me. One of them was when the 3rd grade class was doing their work, a couple first grade parents were able to come into the scene and they could change places in the scene and they could say freeze and jump in and take someone’s spot. And it was cool because some of the parents got involved with that and practiced conflict resolution alongside their kids. I think that spoke to some of the community engagement. The other one was when the 5th grade class which is now the 6th grade class was talking about how they had actually used some of the techniques they had learned in the theatre program to talk with one another about some behaviors and bullying and things like that. That struck me because I thought it took a lot of courage for them to even be willing to share that they felt like they were being bullied to a group of strangers..

T: My story is really similar to that. Also last year, when we first started doing story circles, everyone was like “Oh this is gross I dont wanna tell my story.” but I have a specific memory of 4th grade now 5th grade of a bunch of students just sitting there, looking bored, not wanting to answer the story circle questions and passing, because we would allow them to pass telling their stories. But then comparing that to the end of the semester, them being very bummed out when we didn’t do a story circle one day. So Mr. Julio (one of the other teaching artists) and I looked at each other and realized that we couldn’t do the lesson, were gonna do a story circle because it’s what the students wanted. But it was super magical because I didn’t realize how important that space had become to the students.

Use one word to describe Create Academy’s current school culture.

A: Chameleon

K: Family

T: Electric

Comparing the beginning of the program to today, how has school culture evolved?

A: Well the first time I was in the class it was with different teachers and we did this energy passing ball where we imagine a ball and we pass it around the circle and we cannot talk while were doing and you have to focus only on the ball and passing it around. And we did other stuff similar to the energy ball except we had to shape it around, turn it into a different shape and then give it to the next person. And now at the end we do harder stuff. We do tableaux and we have taken videos of what we’ve done with our tableaux. We’ve filmed it and we created them ourselves.

K: I think students are talking about their problems more with one another in proactive ways instead of destructive ways.

T: I think along the same train of thought, people are more open in general. Not just about problems but I’ve seen students come out of their shell that I never thought would and I’ve seen friendships grow that I never thought would happen. And it’s really nice to see that, thinking that those two or three personalities would ever come together. It’s really special and I’m really lucky that I’ve been here for both years to be able to see that change.

For more information about Rising Youth Theatre and Create Academy, visit their websites:

Rising Youth Theatre is a youth leadership organization that uses theatre and story to position young people at the center advocacy spaces. The company works with young people and professional adult artists to create socially relevant, original plays.

Through an arts integrated curriculum anchored in project-based learning, Create Academy prepares all students for success in college, career, and society by teaching students to collaboratively invent, design, and implement creative solutions that address societal problems and injustices.

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