Presentation encourages collaboration among arts

Shauna Stottsberry

Three Kent State professors stressed the importance of the collaboration among the arts and shared life stories that influenced their career paths last night at the “Why and What We Teach: Stories of Our Lives in the Arts” presentation.

A panel featuring assistant dance professor Barbara Verlezza, assistant music professor Dwayne Wasson and assistant art professor Linda Hoeptner-Poling kicked off the evening. Christine Havice, director of the School of Art, chaired the panel.

“When I started working with people with disabilities, I knew I was where I was supposed to be,” Verlezza said. “It was an amazing moment when I saw a wheelchair dancer perform. That moment was an epiphany.”

Each panel member recalled the distinct moments in his or her life that sparked a passion for teaching.

“Our household was always learning because I had three older sisters, and we always played ‘house,'” Wasson said. “But it was in 10th grade when I was introduced to music history class that I started learning about music. I said ‘That’s what I’m going to do, and that’s what I’m going to teach.'”

Hoeptner-Poling said she was going to be an artist. She didn’t intend to become a teacher, but at 19 years old, she became hooked.

“I was your classic art education nerd,” she said. “It was pure bliss to be around young energy.”

The three assistant professors agreed that interdisciplinary collaborations are essential when teaching about any art discipline. Dance and music are two traditionally linked sister arts. Visual art is tied into dance with scenic designs and costumes.

Wasson and Hoeptner-Poling said they both plan to work harder to integrate other art forms into their music and visual art lessons.

Three workshops were held following the panel.

Art workshop participants were given several photos and told to choose one that represented them the least. Participants were told to describe what they had in common with the photo.

The dance workshop challenged students mentally and physically by assigning movements to each name. When each person’s name was called, participants did the move.

In the music workshop, students worked together to create music. They stomped, clapped and snapped to create musical harmony.

Mike Vasinko, junior art education major, said the symposium wasn’t what he expected.

“I liked that it was something new,” he said. “It was interactive and inviting, and we weren’t lectured the entire time.”

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design and School of Art reporter Shauna Stottsberry at [email protected]