Doane Host to Arts Are Basic

Last week, Doane College was host to the 2010 Arts Are Basic workshop. Textiles

Arts Are Basic (AAB) is a training program in aesthetic education that offers year-round benefits to teachers and their students. As a partner program of Doane College's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETAL), AAB trains teachers to promote learning and growth through the arts. The workshop helps teachers learn how to use visual and performing arts as a way to engage students in learning.

This is the first year AAB was held at Doane. Previously, it was hosted at the UNL campus. Twenty teachers from five schools attended this year's program, along with two Master Teaching Artists and four Nebraska Teaching Artists.

Robert Hillestad is a studio textiles artist and design educator who gave a presentation at AAB about textiles as art. Hillestad has been involved in AAB multiple times.

"I believe in the philosophy of Arts Are Basic," Hillestad said. "Art is so vital to life. It all deals with the expression of human spirit; it's part of being human...If students can discover creativity in one way, they will discover it in other ways as well. I taught for 31 years at UNL, and often, students would tell me about their transfer of creativity."

This year the program focused on theater and visual arts, although AAB director Rhea Gill said the workshop incorporates all fine and performing arts.

"We're the only program in Nebraska to use a piece of art as a textbook," Gill said. "It's a really unique experience. Teachers and Teaching Artists become partners."

Even after the AAB program, teaching artists will visit schools throughout the year, showing teachers and classrooms how to incorporate art into their curriculum.

Trudie Teijink is a Nebraska Teaching Artist who graduated from UNL with a Master's in printmaking. She said she was excited for the experience of going into the classrooms.

"The idea of co-teaching is very refreshing; to go into their classrooms...I'm really looking forward to that. The method of applying what the teachers learned here in their classrooms might be difficult, but that's why we'll be there for the teachers."

Flatwater ShakespeareDuring one day, the teachers were given a presentation by Hillestad, followed by an opportunity to create their own works of art using textiles. Later in the day, the teachers and teaching artists grouped together to perform parts of a scene from The Tempest, using both Shakespeare's dialogue and also translating the text into modern vernacular. Following their activity, the Flatwater Shakespeare Company came to the program to present their rendition of the same scene from The Tempest. Later this year, the Company will perform in front of students from the various attending schools.

For more information about Arts Are Basic, contact Rhea Gill at or 402.466.4774. 

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