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On the blog: Tapping into creativity: A Vibrant Community Arts Program

December 12, 2013
by Naomi Even-Aberle, TAP director and co-director of education for the Rapid City Arts Council at the Dahl Arts Center

Tapping into creativity, the local arts community, the schools and a dash of wind and water are just a few of the ingredients that make up the new Teaching Artist Program known as TAP.

In the spirit of using art as a vehicle for change and growth, the TAP team has been working feverishly preparing new teaching artists, local elementary schools and educators for this wonderfully fresh take on an artist residency.

What makes TAP so different from any other artist residency, you might ask?

For starters TAP views its role in the classroom as an extension of teacher and curriculum. We are not trying to add to the teachers' workload, but rather to emphasize what they are already teaching.

We have worked closely with Main Street Square, Destination Rapid City and Rapid City Area Schools to develop TAP and its curriculum. We've focused on creating a new and exciting experience that will help develop a vibrant arts community right here in Rapid City.

The main goal while developing this program has been to keep it simple and easy to use for everyone involved. We want the schools to receive a custom experience that they couldn't get anywhere else, but more than that we want to help provide resources for those educators.

The Rapid City public school system does not offer formal art education in grades K-5. By providing a local artist during a TAP residency the educators will be able to see how art can improve and enhance subjects like math, history and science while still meeting state standards and the Common Core.

In addition to working closely with educators, TAP teaching artists bring an element of collaboration to the table. While using their expertise as professional artists, TAP teaching artists are encouraged to utilize Main Street Square's Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water as a springboard for lessons in the fundamentals of art.

Sculptor Masayuki Nagase generously included funding for TAP in his budget for the project as part of his community outreach strategy. The artist approaches public art as an interactive experience in which to develop a meaningful dialogue between the space, the community and his work. Passage of Wind and Water's design concept is based on the themes of transformation, change and hope and the abstract design provides rich material for the new school-based program.

TAP will be traveling to schools for the first time this spring. The roster includes Wilson and South Canyon Elementary Schools in Rapid City and the Lakota Waldorf School in Kyle. We have three artists trained and ready to go.

We plan to expand TAP in the fall of 2014 and are looking for additional teaching artists and elementary schools. If you are interested in teaching or are a parent or educator and would like to suggest a school, please contact me,, and stay tuned for more information about a program full of creativity, collaboration and arts exploration!

Read more about TAP on the Rapid City Arts Council's website.

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