WSI Winter Institute 2018: Creatively Cultivating Curricula

The Mississippi Arts Commission’s Whole Schools Initiative is hosting a two-day conference in Tupelo beginning Friday, February 2 and continuing into February 3. The “WSI Winter Institute: Creatively Cultivating Curricula,” is a powerhouse, hands-on event designed to give teachers all the tools they need to effectively transform their teaching through arts-integration strategies.

Arts integration is a proven method of helping children learn fundamentals by using the arts to both enhance learning and expand the curricula. Examples of this teaching method include using visual art (painting) to teach ELA classes, movement (dance) to teach Earth science, and music (drumming) to teach mathematics.

The WSI Winter Institute will feature keynote speaker Jonathan Blanchard and his band sharing “Music of the Civil Rights Movement.” Blanchard will also give a breakout session entitled “Lessons in Civil Rights Music.” Other breakout sessions include: “Speaking Without Words,” a dance-based session presented by Shanina Carmichael; “Mississippi History Through the Arts: A Bicentennial Journey,” presented by Dr. Mark Malone; “Storyteller Sculptures,” by Megan Leake; “Studying Patterns in the Universe Through STEAM,” by Miriam Carman; “Using Unpitched Percussion Instruments in the Classroom,” presented by Mandi Dickens, and a closing keynote and interactive session “Oh, Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad,” presented by New Stage Theatre.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit Tupelo schools to see their arts-integration strategies onsite, hear the Golden Wave Orchestra Quartet at a networking reception, and enjoy the Tupelo High School Chorale during the conference. The Mississippi Arts Commission is also inviting these teachers to share in MAC’s strategic planning during a special working luncheon on Saturday.

For more information about the Winter Institute, visit or