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Professional Development Conference Focuses on Integrating Arts and Education

Educators, administrators, mentors and parents seeking new methods for motivating and supporting students at risk of educational failure will have the opportunity to hear from 15 leaders in the fields of education and arts at the 5th Annual Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference, held Friday, May 4 at Asbury Hall. The conference is being presented by Young Audiences of Western New York and Arts Partners for Learning.
The focus of the conference will be to provide those who work with youth–whether they be teachers, administrators, human service workers, curriculum coordinators, instructional leaders, mentors, or parents–with an in-depth understanding of how arts integration programs can be used as a strategy for helping students who are at risk of failing. Through participation in workshops, group discussions, and interactive performances, those who attend the conference will learn how to engage their students with these arts-centered techniques. They will also learn how to develop their curriculum to support arts integration content, as well as connect with resources for bringing artists in to work with youth in their schools or outside venues.
The workshops will run in three separate sessions: Session 1, 10-11:30 a.m.; Session 2, 1-2:30 p.m.; and Session 3, 2:45-4:15 p.m. Following the first round of workshops, a lunch performance by PUSH Physical Theatre will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The performers will inspire audiences with their amazing acrobatic feats and physical storytelling that has built a reputation for evoking a powerful emotional response.
The schedule for presentations at the conference is as follows:
Session I:
Rodney Appleby: “Perspectives: Creating a Dialogue on History”
Appleby will discuss how to create active lesson plans that bring historical events to life, by engaging students in role-play, music, and dramatic performance.
Annette Daniels Taylor: “Zine Making! Communicate, Collaborate, and Create”
Taylor will discuss techniques for making a “Zine”–a low-tech, low-cost, do-it-yourself mini-magazine–and share examples of different zines. 
Sara Goldhawk: “You Want to be Part of Everything: Lessons from Low Income Schools”
Goldhawk’s discussion will explore how to use the arts to support low-income students’ needs. The talk will cover how at-risk youth can be impacted by the arts and some examples of schools that have successfully used arts integration techniques to help their students become successful.
Carrie Marcotte and Nancy Spector: “Inspire Your Groups to Think and Talk About Art (and Have Fun Doing It)”
Participants will learn how to explore artwork and stimulate conversation as they view Joshua Reiman’s “Can’t Stop Reiman” exhibit with museum educator Nancy Spector of the Albright-Knox Gallery and Carrie Marcotte, director of Starlight Studio and Art Gallery. 
Session II:
Sarah Haykel: “Salsa for Life: Character Development & Life Skills Through Salsa Dancing”
Participants will learn about Salsa for the Soul’s mission and their work with youth, as well as participate in exercises to engage in personal and social transformation through Salsa dancing.
Joel Lewitzky and Agnes Love: “Printmaking”
This workshop will showcase different forms of printmaking techniques used at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery and will convey the role of the teaching artist in developing participants’ skill.
Ellen Melamed: “Using Drama With Newcomers”
Participants will learn how to utilize dramatic techniques in an effort to understand the experience of immigrant students, newcomers, and marginalized youth. They will learn how to create spaces of belonging by actively engaging newcomers in the dominant culture while maintaining their own heritage.
Kristan Rothman: “The Other 18 Hours: Out-of-School Learning for At-Risk Students”
Participants will learn how Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio (YANEO) uses out-of-school arts integration programming to engage disaffected youth, specifically by imparting life and career skills and promoting healing in those who have been impacted by neglect and violence. 
Gordon Sasaki: “Universal Design (UDL) in the Classroom”
Participants will be introduced to the concepts of Universal Design for Learning through lecture, hands-on learning, visual imagery, and extensive discussion.
Session III:
Annette Daniels Taylor: “Underground Railroad: Next Stop Poetry”
Taylor, a theater artist, will share excerpts from Nancy Goes to Seneca Falls to motivate participants to write and share their own poems about the experience of the Underground Railroad.
Ellen Melamed: “Changing Lives with the Alexander Technique”
Participants will learn about the Alexander Technique (AT) approach to movement and how to implement it from Melamed, who was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at the age of 12.
Nels Ross & Carla Marrazzo: “Juggling Your Classroom Management Skills”
Participants will learn how to address behavioral challenges in a non-confrontational manner that promotes a positive learning environment. 
Gordon Sasaki: “The Inclusive Classroom”
Participants will learn how to implement multimodal approaches using many artistic and sensory techniques to create an inclusive classroom.
The conference is being held in honor of Patricia Cotsen, an 18-year member of the Young Audiences board of directors who passed away in January of 2010. Cotsen was a longtime docent for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Darwin Martin House, as well as a key figure in the creation of the King Urban Life Center charter school.
The conference will be held at Asbury Hall at Babeville, located at 341 Delaware Avenue. Admission will be $40 per person, which includes lunch. Students with a valid college ID will be able to pay a reduced price of $20 for admission. For more information on the conference, visit or call 716-881-0917.

Written by Buffalo Rising

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