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COCA's Monthly Arts in Education for February 2021

COCA Announcements 
COCA’s Teachable Works
As a complement to COCA’s Outdoor Public Art Directory and Map, we offer specially designed educational resources highlighting our community's public artworks. You’ll find lesson plans that align with state standards in a variety of subject areas including language arts, math, science, social studies, as well as the arts. Click here to explore the materials created for the “Gaines Street Tree Wall.” If you’d like to share a lesson you’ve created that features our local public artwork, please email
Order the arts license plate and let your support show wherever you go.
Purchasing a State of the Arts license plate is an affordable way to make a direct contribution to arts and culture in Leon County.
COCA gets $20 from the sale of each arts tag in Leon County and those funds support arts education programs in our community.
Online events are now a category on our
List all your virtual arts classes, workshops, and more in the "Events" category on our site. 
All online events will be listed and featured in our weekly Monday Tallahassee Arts Guide "This Week" email that goes to over 13,000 individuals. Anyone in the 100-mile radius around Tallahassee can add listings to the Tallahassee Arts Guide.
 Questions? Feel free to contact Amanda Thompson at
COCA Arts in Education Articles
Masks on, songs on: New choral director building on dreams at Nims
January 12, 2021
Andrew Thompson had a clear vision for what he wanted to accomplish after college. Just over a year into his teaching career, he’s already putting his vision into practice. As the new choral director at Nims Middle School, he’s building a program from scratch that he hopes will inspire students and the surrounding community.
“Right now, none of my students, with the exception of maybe two, have ever performed, anything, anywhere, not at church, nothing. We’re learning as we go and, the fact is, they’re doing it,” he said.
Thompson aspires to establish Nims’ first show choir. “I want them to be able to sing and dance and get a full immersive experience of not only what it is to perform but also what it takes to put together a show.”
About 100 students are currently enrolled in the choir. Due to the pandemic, most of those students are participating remotely which creates challenges that Thompson overcomes digitally. All the music is uploaded to a program that students can access and practice at home. They then submit recordings of themselves to Thompson who gives highly personalized feedback and instruction.
Read the rest of the story here. Check out our archived articles on the COCA blog.
Students on board for Challenger Learning Center’s new virtual mission to space
January 27, 2021
Over the past year, the world has grappled with the pandemic which has touched every part of our lives. Humanity spent the early days of the global shut down fumbling though the darkness, in unfamiliar and dangerous territory with a disorienting sense of imbalance. We might as well have been in outer space.
As scientists learned more about the virus, it became clear we would not be back to business as usual and would need to develop creative and safe ways to move forward. This was especially true for schools and other types of educational facilities such as the Challenger Learning Center (CLC). 
CLC strives to provide hands-on learning for K-12 students to explore the solar system. Typically, these are in-person experiences that students gain through field trips to the facility but, as the pandemic descended, it became clear that would no longer be possible. 
For Susan Borland, the Education Manager at CLC, the pandemic was a call to action. “When school first shut down, we realized that this would not be over soon. We didn’t know when we would be able to have kids come to the space mission simulator again, so we decided to pivot and come up with a virtual simulation.” 
Read the rest of the story here. Check out our archived articles on the COCA blog.
Teaching Resources
Please share these resources with others and if you've found resources that could help other arts teachers, please email them to Amanda Thompson at
Click here to visit our Pinterest page for a huge, COCA curated list of creative, educational, and entertaining arts activities in all disciplines. These resources are sure to keep little ones, tweens, and teens learning and growing artistically.
Google Arts and Culture - Black History and Culture
Explore the history, arts and culture of the Black experience in the United States. Google Arts and Culture offers resources featuring African American art, music, dance, radio, theater and playwriting, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, pop culture, and beyond. Visitors can also explore 80+ historic U.S. museums and Institutions that focus on Black experience. Click here to explore.
National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Teaching and Learning Unit
NMAAHC creates programs and resources for students and educators in grades 3-12 designed to strengthen pedagogy skills, cultivate cultural literacy knowledge, and encourage multiple perspective taking while building change agents in today’s world. These programs and resources explore stories of achievement, perseverance, and ingenuity across multiple disciplines with emphasis on history, the visual arts, and the fields of STEM. Click here for more. 
NEA - Black History Month Lessons & Resources
To help educators integrate Black History Month into their classrooms, The National Education Association offers a selection of lesson plans that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels. From the History of Hip-Hop to African-American Visual Art and the Black Arts Movement, teachers will find no shortage of resources to engage their students in learning about African-American Culture & History all year long. Click here for more. 
FMEA - Music Education Scholarship (Postmark deadline: April 20)
FMEA is soliciting scholarship applications for the 2021 June M. Hinckley Music Education Scholarship. The Association will award $1000 scholarships to selected 2020-2021 graduating high school students who participated in a Florida All-State ensemble and who intend to major in music education at a Florida college or university. Please see the application here.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program
The Philadelphia Orchestra is offering a Virtual School Concert experience with unique distance learning materials. This virtual experience will be in place of our in-person school concerts that usually take place in the spring, to ensure students (grades 3–5) and teachers can experience the orchestra from the safety of their homes and/or classrooms during these uncertain times. Click here to take advantage of this educational opportunity.
Black Violin: Intersections
This is a virtual talk and play series focused on the intersection of business, art, and black culture led by creative extremists Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste of Black Violin. This inclusive course welcomes students from all schools of thought to engage in a more meaningful conversation about race, creativity, and the pursuit of success. Discussions begin with a live performance or demonstration by Black Violin to illustrate the days lesson and to empower students to use their passion and creativity to fuel positive discourse and push social awareness. For more information, contact Corryn Freeman, Vice President of Black Violin Foundation Inc. at 443-538-6615 or Click here for more. 
Interactive Academy/FAAE Digital Media Room
The Florida Alliance for Arts Education and the Interactive Academy are making digital online platforms available to the arts community in an effort to restore some of the loss of revenue organizations are experiencing during the COVID 19 outbreak. Learners of all ages will be able to take classes that are streamed to the privacy of your personal Digital Media Room (DMR). Instructional aides such as handouts and quizzes will also be available in the DMR. To learn more about enrolling as a student or offering a live stream as a teacher, click here. 
Professional Development & Artistic Planning Grants (Deadline: Rolling)
Grants are available for organizations to support the professional development needs of Southern presenters, programmers, or curators, strengthen program design, and increase organizational capacity. This funding can support staff's travel expenses to conferences, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and other professional development opportunities, or artists' travel expenses for onsite planning meetings with presenting organizations. Click here to learn more. 
Awesome Tallahassee (Deadline: Rolling)
Each month Awesome Tallahassee awards a $1,000 grant to people doing awesome things in our community. If you have a great idea for the Tallahassee area apply for a grant today! Click here for more details.  
To learn about other opportunities and resources, visit the Classifieds section of COCA's Tallahassee Arts Guide
Professional Development
FSU’s Art Education ACT Webinar Series (Art Education in Critical Times)
Title: How to Think like an Artist 
Date: February 17 from 7-8 PM
In this professional development workshop, FSU Art Education faculty Dr. Scott Shields and Dr. Fendler will share how we adapted a contemporary artist’s practice as a step-by-step lesson plan designed to get students thinking (and working!) like an artist. After presenting the unit, FSU Art Education graduate students will provide examples of student work, sharing how they moved through this lesson, what their process was like, and their results. Click here to register.
Job Opportunity
Call for Visual Art Instructors
We work with our instructors to offer varied and engaging programs, as unique and artistic as our instructors themselves.
LeMoyne offers four 8-week studio sessions for adults, teens and children: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, as well as a myriad of one or two day workshops year round. Some of our instructors teach multiple classes, some teach one at a time, and others teach during one season of the year. All instructors are paid independent contractors, and receive a free one-year Individual Membership to LeMoyne Arts. Click here to learn more.
Around Town
COCA Education Grant
New ONLINE content on Tallahassee Arts Guide 
Check out all the family-friendly, local, virtual offerings including events, classes, workshops, and lessons. Please visit us at to access our resources and to add your own arts-related listings.
Sounds of Tallahassee - Call to Musicians
Vibrant and diverse, creative and innovative - Tallahassee's music community has long been one of our greatest assets. "Sounds of Tallahassee" serves as a portal to the unique musical offerings that make the Big Bend region so special. In partnership with Moose Magnificat Radio and Cat Family Records, COCA offers this auditory adventure. We invite you to be part of "Sounds of Tallahassee," an initiative that promotes area musicians and connects them with new audiences. Any musician living in a 100-mile radius of Tallahassee is eligible for this opportunity. More info here
The 2020 Winter Festival Youth Art Exhibit Online through Feb. 9
The Winter Festival Youth Art Exhibition 2020 will showcase youthful talent and imagination through K-12 student artwork. Elementary, middle and high school art teachers submit work on behalf of their students for the show. The entries represent numerous different area public and private schools. The dedication and professionalism of our area art teachers is evident in the quality of the student artwork on display and the exhibition is always stunning. While this show is traditionally on display at the City Hall Gallery, the pandemic has forced the gallery to close temporarily, so these works will be viewed in COCA’s Online Gallery at More info here
Turning the Page: Inclusive Illustrations by Elizabeth Lampman Davis through April 5
In this solo exhibition of her digital illustrations, Lampman Davis strives to increase the visibility of children who are underrepresented children’s literature. This exhibition is not just “family friendly,” kids are heartily encouraged to tour the show which can be viewed at the Artport Gallery or in COCA’s Online Gallery at More info here
MLK Day Parade (Feb. 6 from 12-2pm)
To commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and in recognition of his life-long efforts toward social justice and equality, the City will host this reverse-style, drive-thru parade in downtown Tallahassee. The uniquely formatted parade will take place southbound along Monroe Street between Tennessee Street and Pensacola Street. Participants, which include a diverse and energetic mix of exhibits and entertainment, will be stationary along either side of the road. Spectators should line up in their vehicles eastbound on Tennessee Street and TPD officers will guide them into the parade route heading southbound on Monroe Street. Click here for details.
Enroll your middle school student in weekly art classes with FSU Art Education graduate students (begins Feb. 22)
FSU’s Art Education teacher certification program is offering a FREE arts enrichment opportunity for middle school students. Students are invited to work with an FSU Art Education graduate student, to explore the theme Sense of Place, while developing a multimedia art project. Sessions are held weekly via Zoom, Mondays 3-4pm, and begin Feb. 22. Sign up is first come, first serve, and 18 spots are available. Contact Rachel Fendler, Assistant Professor of Art Education, with questions. Enroll by clicking here.
Tallahassee Zine Fest (Deadline: March 1)
Tallahassee Zine Fest is going virtual! This year we are holding our fest in three parts and all are free to participate in.  
Part 1: Zine Exchange - Make 5 zines, then we’ll send you 5 addresses and you send yours out, you then get 5 zines in the mail.
Part 2: Livestream - If you have a reading you’d like to do, some sort of how-to demo you’re great at, a weird performance, or any other tangential zine type streamable content we’d love for you to participate.
Part 3: We want easily downloadable PDFs, Google spreadsheet zines, web comics, etc. Click here for more details. 
Opening Nights Presents: Black Violin’s Virtual Student Project
Black Violin enters the student virtual space with an all-new, high-energy, performance that takes their unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, jazz, and pop to new heights. Recorded at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, this engaging, high-definition multi-camera video covers themes of perseverance, exploration, and unity with songs like Rise, Unbreakable, Believer, Dreamer and Impossible is Possible. Embedded in the performance is a message for students and educators about challenging stereotypes and status quo conventions, and that pathways to success require commitment, practice, and unwavering dedication.
Please contact Calla MacNamara at Opening Nights at FSU to receive access to this opportunity at
Thank you Centennial Bank for supporting arts education!
Viral Voices: Sharing Your Pandemic Experience
The Viral Voices: Sharing Your Pandemic Story project empowers Leon County citizens in grades K-12 to share their personal narratives about life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make your voice heard; we’re looking for your stories, poems, letters, photographs, artwork, spoken word, music and short videos. Share your experience, whether it is inspirational, funny, sad or frustrated. Your stories are part of our County’s history. Click here to learn how to participate.
The "A Town Divided" Education Program
Intended for use by high school teachers, the A Town Divided Education Program features a downloadable package that includes access to the FULL video production of A Town Divided, Southern Shakespeare Company’s original adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – set in Tallahassee, Florida.
The A Town Divided Education Program also offers an accompanying educational video and a classroom resource series which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of A Town Divided and discusses the issues it raises while exploring Romeo and Juliet. Click here for more details.
Art Therapy Services
Mosaic Creative Counseling is accepting new clients for art therapy services! Mosaic is committed to helping clients put the pieces of their lives back together again through art therapy and counseling. We offer a creative and safe space for individuals, families, and partners to discover themselves and move forward in their lives. Mosaic is dedicated to offering trauma-informed and culturally inclusive services to address a variety of client concerns. In addition to art therapy and counseling, we also offer education and training to the community. Click here for more info. 
Call for Arts Mentors at Raa Middle School 
In partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend and Raa Middle School, COCA seeks local visual artists, musicians, dancers, and theater professionals to provide mentoring to middle school arts students in Raa's Magnet Program. These students know they want a life filled with arts experiences and you can show them how. If the arts have been an important part of your life and you want to pass that on, this is the perfect opportunity for you. The commitment is very low, just one hour per week, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend takes care of all the rest at no cost to you. Support these students by helping them develop communication and social skills, positive relationships with adults, as well as a life-long love of the arts. If you are interested or want more details, here or contact Raa's Magnet Coordinator, William Sahely at Visit to sign up to be a mentor.
Yamaha Unveils Inaugural 40 Under 40 List of Top Music Educators in the country and Megan Sahely, Orchestra teacher at Raa Middle and Leon High Schools is on it!
This honor recognizes 40 of the most innovative, creative and impactful music educators under the age of 40 who exemplify the highest level of music education in the United States. The 40 Under 40 music education advocacy program was established by Yamaha to celebrate music educators at all grade levels, public or private, as well as private music instructors, selected from hundreds of music education leaders nominated by students, parents, other teachers or administrators, local instrument dealers and mentors last fall.
COCA congratulates Megan Sahely and thanks her for her work in support of arts education! Learn more about this honor and see the other educators who were selected by clicking here.
Black History Alliance Black History Month Festival
We are so proud to announce that Cobb Middle School student Caleb Johnson and his co-star Kaliah Stevenson (from Havana Magnet) are the First Place winners of the Black History Alliance's Black History Month Festival. Their short film is a reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Click here to watch their video here. Click here to learn more about the festival.
The Northeast Leon Society for Arts and Culture (NELSAC) recently announced the winners of their Student Online Short Film Contest. All of the winners were Leon County School students.
Congratulations to all the winners for these incredibly films which can be seen here.
Kraft Nissan kindly provides funds for film contest cash prizes and Tiburoso Films provides the Director of Best Contest Film a ½ Day, on-location film shoot.
For more information about NELSAC, click here.
Did You Know?
On Easter Sunday in 1939, classical vocalist Marian Anderson gave an open-air performance from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The recital drew a crowd of 75,000 and became a touchstone in the emerging civil rights movement.
Anderson, one of the United States' most successful classical singers at the time, had been scheduled to perform at Constitution Hall, a celebrated venue operated by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). However, the DAR refused to allow Anderson, an African-American woman, to perform to an integrated audience. Thousands of members of the DAR resigned in protest, led by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. 
With the support of Eleanor and her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ickes organized the concert, which became a groundbreaking moment in civil rights history. 
Click here to learn more and listen a recording of that performance.
About the Arts in Education Newsletter
Amanda Karioth Thompson
Assistant Director
Education & Exhibitions Manager
Council on Culture & Arts
To submit listings for COCA's Arts in Education Monthly Newsletter, send a description of 50 words or less to Amanda Karioth Thompson at COCA reserves the right to include or exclude any listing at its discretion and to determine the content and placement of all listings. Deadline for submission is 5:00pm on the fourth Monday of the month.
COCA does not endorse any artists, organizations, or programs listed herein, nor imply stature through their inclusion in this newsletter. While we have made every effort to ensure that this information is correct, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information.