Vermilionville museum places artists in classrooms

The Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation recently received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its program that places artists into classrooms to teach cultural traditions to students.

Vermilionville artisans and Acadiana Center for the Arts teaching artists share traditions, create hands-on art projects with students and help students with interviewing skills.

The program began last year with the support of a $25,000 NEA grant and in its second year will expand to include French immersion students.

“We are very excited to continue this program for a second year,” said Jolie Johnson, Vermilionville’s museum operations coordinator, in a news release.

“We gained valuable insights into classroom residencies and integration of the visual arts with folk arts,” she said. “It has been a fulfilling experience to see students value their heritage and learn more about our region’s cultures,” said Vermilionville’s museum operations coordinator Jolie Johnson in a news release.

Johnson added Vermilionville’s goal is for teachers to view the village as an extension of their classroom.

As part of its local learning initiative, the village also offers a Teacher Institute in partnership with the Vermilionville Foundation. A free, two-day professional development workshop for teachers is planned July 28-29 at Vermilionville and is an opportunity for teachers to learn how to integrate folklife lessons into their curriculum.

The lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The workshop involves hands-on immersion experiences with folklorists, master teachers and local artists.

After the workshop, teachers will work in teams during the 2014-15 school year to help another implement lessons.

As part of the Teacher Institute, teachers receive a stipend, in-service credit, access to artists for classroom residences, multimedia resources, lesson plans and free admission to Vermilionville events.

Their students’ artwork also will be displayed in the village in May 2015.

Registration for the summer teacher professional development has not yet opened, but interested teachers may contact Johnson for information at vville@bayou vermiliondistrict.org.