Great Idea!

Today the person with whom I had been discussing the state of arts education a week or so ago, sent me a great article about how some local schools were exposing kids to art while meeting the “No Child Left Behind” requirements for science. (For those of you wondering what Yu Gi Oh is, go here)

At Nanaikapono, Peralta’s class is focusing on two-dimensional art, drawing and painting fanciful creatures in various habitats where they face threats from man or nature. Each student researched the science of three different animals, studying their physical characteristics and habitats, before melding those traits to come up with a new animal.

Last week, they wrestled with how their creatures would overcome threats.

“This is when you guys can tell the story, instead of having the television tell them to you,” Enos told them, with his irrepressible smile. “This is when you can use your ideas. Who needs TV anyway?”

Ultimately, the class will create a game together, featuring the 28 creatures they have designed on cards.

“How many of you have played Yu-Go-Ih?” asked Enos, prompting peals of laughter.

“Yu-Gi-Oh!” the students corrected him in chorus.

“Usually you have a winner and a loser,” he went on, with a wink. “We’re going to change that whole dynamic. Everyone who sits down to play this game needs to work together to stop the threat.”

The goal of the game, Ali explained, is to create a balanced ecosystem. The rules will be up to the kids.

….Halfway through the six-week program, the class has learned how both artists and scientists rely on observation, prediction and trial-and-error, and how they must have a deep knowledge of their materials and their settings.

The program is a pilot project that will be expanded to other schools in the spring and mostly incorporate the efforts of visual artists who might work in anything from bronze to clay or fibre arts. I have to say, this really sounds like a great program. I am always at a loss to think of ways to integrate arts and subjects like science and math, so I really applaud the creativity of whomever came up with this.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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