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COCA's Monthly Arts in Education Newsletter

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In This Month's Edition:
COCA Announcements
COCA Arts in Education Articles
Around Town
Job Openings
Did You Know?
Quick Links
COCA Announcements
We'll help you spread the word!

COCA promotes school arts programming for FREE!
Add your school plays, concerts, performances, exhibits, and festivals directly to COCA's Tallahassee Arts Guide.
Simply, click the "register" button in the upper right corner and set up your own free account if you haven't already. Then enter your events and we'll help you promote them to the general public for free! We may even write a feature article about your camp as part of our weekly arts education series in the Tallahassee Democrat.
EDUCATORS - We'd love to have you as a COCA member!
COCA exists to serve the arts community and memberships are a big part of what allows us to do that. We provide services to educators and students and if you have benefited from COCA's support and resources, won't you consider become a new or renewing COCA member? We have a special category just for educators and you can learn more by clicking here.  
Questions? Feel free to contact Amanda Thompson at or 850-224-2500.
COCA Arts in Education Articles
Creative coping
November 07, 2018

Alice Strom has lived through a few hurricanes in her young life. In the past, she has simply thought of them as bad rainstorms with the loss of power as the biggest inconvenience. "Usually, I'm not that worried," she said. "But now that I'm in fifth grade, I put a lot more thought into things. I was worried about this one."

She described her first inkling of Hurricane Michael's building force. "I was standing outside and I could feel the wind and it was really strong even the day before. I was watching everything blow and that's when I started to get nervous." During the worst of it, Alice recalled, "we heard transformers blow, which was a little scary." 

The storm cut a swath through the Big Bend. Tallahassee fared better than other areas which were decimated. Many people lost everything. "I'm worried for them," said Alice. "I also don't know what to think."

This kind of anxiety and bewilderment can be a challenge for children who have been through a traumatic episode. It can affect learning and development but Alice's art teacher, Wafa Elaska, can help. She teaches at Hartfield Elementary School where the faculty and staff receive specialized trauma-informed training. Elsaka has also learned from her personal experiences. She grew up in occupied Gaza City and still has family there. She identifies with the concept of unrest and how it can traumatize. In response to a call put out by the Council on Culture & Arts for hurricane relief arts volunteers, Elsaka visited emergency shelters in the most affected areas.
Read the rest of the story here. Check out our archived arts education articles on the COCA blog.
Third-graders pick up musical skills on recorder
November 21, 2018

The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Lou Reed have a lot in common. Aside from the fact that they've all helped cement rock and roll as a mainstream musical genre, they also all have a connection to an unlikely instrument, the recorder. From "Fool On The Hill" and "Ruby Tuesday" to "Stairway To Heaven" and "Life On Mars?," the instrument can be heard in some of our most iconic and beloved songs. 

The recorder has an illustrious past. The oldest surviving example dates back to 14th-century Europe. A collection of 76 recorders was listed in the personal effects of King Henry VIII at the time of his death. Handel, Vivaldi and Bach all incorporated the instrument into their compositions. Shakespeare even wrote it into the third act of Hamlet.

Bethany Bennitt, music teacher at Conley Elementary School recently introduced her third-graders to the recorder and they are now moving the instrument's heritage forward. But it all begins with practice. "If you have a love of practice, that carries over into so many other things in life," explained Bennitt.

Her entire classroom management plan is based around the habits of rehearsal. "My students are very accustomed to me giving an instruction and then it being an immediate opportunity to practice that instruction. If we get it wrong, we just do it again." 
Read the rest of the story here. Check out our archived arts education articles on the COCA blog.
COCA Spotlight: Music at heart of TSS holiday Tour of Homes
December 03, 2018

Ginny Densmore was eager to stay involved in Tallahassee's bustling music scene after retiring from her elementary school teaching career. She joined the Tallahassee Symphony Society, which supports the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and was quickly posted to a position as the music chair for their annual Tour of Homes fundraiser. "I loved seeing the beautiful homes all decorated and the live music really added a lot to the atmosphere," says Densmore, who helped to organize the event for 10 years before taking a hiatus. "It's really an enjoyable experience."

Densmore was called upon to organize this year's Holiday Tour of Homes, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8. While Friday's performances highlight local musicians on piano, flute, viola, clarinet, and classical guitar, Saturday is for the talented youth musicians from Apalachee Elementary School, Raa Middle School, the Javacya Conservatory, and the Tallahassee Home School Orchestra.
Read the rest of the story here. Check out our archived arts education articles on the COCA blog.

Youth Art Month Flag Design Competition (Jan. 18)
Get involved in Youth Art Month by submitting a student design for Florida's Youth Art Month Flag Design competition. The theme for this year is "Your Art, Your Story." Flag designs should communicate an aspect of Florida's culture, history, and/or geography. The use of the YAM logo is encouraged and the words "Your Art, Your Story" should also be included. Click here for details.
C-SPAN's StudentCam (Deadline: Jan. 20) 
This annual national video documentary competition encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation. This year students in grades 6-12 are asked to create a short (5-6 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the new 2019 competition theme, "What does it mean to be American? Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience." More information and application details can be accessed here
Arts4All Florida Student of the Month Recognition Program  
Have an outstanding student with a disability who should be recognized for 
work in or through the arts? Arts4All Florida invites you to take this easy opportunity to recognize a student who exemplifies outstanding work in or through the arts.To learn more, here. 
2019 K-12 Student Art Assessment & Virtual Exhibition (Deadline: March 12)
The purpose of this program is to serve as a statewide assessment for visual art and promote the achievements of students enrolled in visual art classes throughout Florida. Sargent Art will generously sponsor prizes for the 2019 FAEA K-12 Student Art Assessment & Virtual Exhibition. 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.  
Around Town
COCA promotes school arts programming and summer camps for FREE!
Add your school plays, concerts, performances, exhibits, festivals, and camps directly to our new Tallahassee Arts Guide. It only takes a few minutes to register and send us information about your arts related school events. They will be listed on the Tallahassee Arts Guide and we'll help you promote them for free!

We may even write a feature article about your program as part of our weekly arts education series in the Tallahassee Democrat! Questions? Contact Amanda Karioth Thompson at 850-224-2500.
2018 Winter Festival Youth Art Exhibition
On display through Jan. 28, 2019 at the City Hall Gallery

The Winter Festival Youth Art Exhibition 2018 showcases youthful talent and imagination through more than 50 pieces of student artwork. Elementary, middle, and high school art teachers submitted work on behalf of their students for the exhibition. The entries represent more than 20 different area public and private schools. 

A public reception for the exhibition begins at 6:00pm on Friday, Nov. 30 in the City Hall Gallery, and lasts until 7:30. The awards ceremony will start at 6:30pm. 

Click here for more details. 
Call for art supply donations 
Bay County returned to school this week after the devastating impacts of Hurricane Michael. Most of the area schools sustained damage, some beyond repair. Please consider donating much needed supplies to stock art classrooms, and make sure kids have a chance to express their courage and creativity. Supplies will be directly shipped to the Bay County Schools Warehouse at 1120 W 17th Street, Panama City, FL 32405. The arts are a vital tool for creative resilience. Click here to see what items are needed.
Florida State Fair Creative Living Competitions (Deadline: Dec. 14)  
Children and adults are invited to participate in a variety of different categories including arts and crafts, wood arts, needle arts and crafts, and special competitions such as the
art portfolio contest for high school seniors (that deadline is Nov. 16). For details about participating in these opportunities, click here.
Arts for Life! Scholarship (Deadline: Feb. 4) 
High school students who are graduating from a public, private, or virtual school or a home education program in Florida during the current academic year are invited to apply. Arts for Life! awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 graduating high school seniors in Florida who demonstrate excellence in one of the following art forms: creative writing, dance, drama, music, or visual art. For more information, click here.
Call for Arts Mentors at Raa Middle School 
Local visual artists, musicians, dancers, and theater professionals are sought 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 Leon County Schools 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, Sam Thompson at or 488-6287.   
Job Openings
Male Ballroom Dance Instructors Needed (Deadline: Dec 15)
Monarch Ballroom is rapidly growing in Tallahassee. Dance instructors are sought to meet the need. Through the training program, you'll learn how to dance the Tango, Swing, Salsa, Bachata, Waltz, Hustle, and everything else you may have seen on the TV shows, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and the many others. For more details about this opportunity, click here.
Part-time Piano Instructor Position (Deadline: Dec 31)
Music Lessons Express is seeking a part-time piano instructor to teach in-home lessons starting immediately. Candidates must have at least one year of prior teaching experience and be able to teach students of all ages and levels. Reliable transportation, good time-management, and strong communication skills are a must. Click here to learn more.
Organist needed (Deadline: Dec 31)
First Presbyterian Church seeking a part time organist applicant for 500 member congregation. The music program is well established and is a Traditional style of worship and seeking a good accompanist for Chancel Choir, great Hymn playing Organist and service music. Click here for more details.
The Arts4All Florida Student of the Month for November is Katie Yaques, 13. Katie, who attends the Florida Autism Center in Tallahassee was nominated by her music teacher, Amanda Broadfoot from Making Light Productions where she currently participates as a cast member.
Katie has been studying voice and piano for four years and spends most days after school honing her skills by participating in group and private performing arts lessons. The payoff has been sweet this year when she took home High Gold ratings at the Access Broadway regional musical theatre competition.  

COCA congratulates all 73 student artists included in the 2018 Winter Festival Youth Art Exhibition at the City Hall Art Gallery! Being selected to participate in this show is an honor in itself but a few students received additional recognition at the opening reception and awards announcement last week. We were especially happy to have Superintendent Rocky Hanna and Mayor John Dailey join us. This was one of his first official events in office.

This exhibition is on display now through Jan. 28th at the City Hall Art Gallery. Click here for more details about the exhibit. 

2018 Winter Festival Award Winners

First Place
Karen Morris, Grade 8, Raa Middle School
Second Place
Rebecca Hillman, Grade 7, Fairview Middle School
Third Place
Laxmi McGuire, Grade 7, Fairview Middle School
Honorable Mention
Mary Katherine (MK) Brady, Grade 7, Maclay School
Nicole Kelly, Grade 8, Deerlake Middle School
Conner Matthews, Grade 8, Montford Middle School
First Place
Kira Valdes, Grade 11, Leon High School
Second Place
Novak Lukomski, Grade 11, SAIL High School
Third Place
Nori Gammons, Grade 11, Florida State University School
Honorable Mention
Alexandra Blackney, Grade 10, Chiles High School
Lauren Fleischer, Grade 11, Maclay School
Grace Kurowski, Grade 12, Chiles High School
Meghana Kavarthapu, Grade 11, Chiles High School
Artwork by elementary students is included in the exhibition but not the awards selection.
Did You Know?
What color are those letters? If you're a non-synesthete, you probably replied "blue." Even "neon blue" if you were feeling descriptive. People with synesthesia may have several different answers. 

Synesthesia is a phenomenon where experiencing one sense can lead to a direct experience of another. For example, a person with synesthesia could associate Tuesdays with yellow, seeing the letter B could make one taste mangoes or a G sharp could feel fluffy to another. 

Synesthesia can occur in just about any combination of senses or cognitive pathways, and not every experience is the same. One person who may associate the number 2 with blue, but another person who has the same type of grapheme-color synesthetes may associate the number with another color. A 2006 study found that synesthesia was 88 times more likely than previously thought, and affects 2-4% of the population.
Click here to read "How Synesthesia Works" by Kate Kershner.  
About the Arts in Education Newsletter
Amanda Karioth Thompson
Assistant Director
Education & Exhibitions Manager
Council on Culture & Arts
phone: 850-224-2500
fax: 850-224-2515
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 insure that this information is correct, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information.

COCA's programs are sponsored in part by the City of Tallahassee, Leon County, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.