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  • Writer's pictureStudent Ambassadors

Arts Express Conference: Resource for Educators

Every summer, the BYU Arts Partnership hosts a two day conference called the Arts Express Conference. This conference seeks to help educators all over the state learn more about integrating arts into their curriculum through a series of keynote speakers, group sessions, and collaborative meetings. Additionally, at meal times and throughout the day attendees are treated to live performances by dancers, musicians, and actors.

My time at the Arts Express Conference was transformational. I'm teaching 4th grade in the fall, which made my time at the conference so much more valuable. In our keynote addresses, the first done by the leaders of the BYU Arts Partnership and the second by children's book writer (and creator of the YouTube series "Kid President"), Brad Montague, I learned so much. We talked about the incredible impact of the arts, the need for good teachers, and how we can better relate to and help our students each day. It was very empowering!

I was able to attend 4 group sessions. In the first session, we were taught several dances (many of which were traditional American folk dances) that we can do with our classes. My second breakout session was a 3 hour theater workshop. I learned about several theatrical techniques and games that I could integrate into my classroom. Our final hour of the session, previously unbeknownst to us, was spent creating and rehearsing a piece that was performed for the entire conference the following day.

The next day, I attended a session about traditional methods for painting Native American artwork. We even got to make our own Yucca Brush, which involved sucking and chewing off the end of a Yucca leaf until only the tiny fibers were left. We then got to watercolor with our new brush! My final session was about creating dioramas with paper. We learned different paper folding and cutting techniques and then got to create our dream playground exclusively out of paper. Mine was very abstract.

I learned so much from each of the keynote speakers and my sessions. The conference also had a resource fair and I was able to collect a lot of information that I want to use in my future classroom. For example, did you know that the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre will come in FOR FREE and teach your students how to create and perform a short opera in just a couple weeks?! I had no idea! But I can't wait to use this and other resources in my classroom.

Mark your calendar for the first week of June 2025 for next year's Arts Express Conference. I promise you that it's worth attending and will completely change your perspective on the arts. To learn more about this conference or the McKay school, meet with a student ambassador here!

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