artsFUSION Scholarship Program

The artsFUSION Scholars Program gives SUU students the opportunity to observe and assist local elementary arts teachers and to participate in elementary arts projects. Students who are selected will receive a $1000 scholarship which will be applied to tuition through the SUU scholarship office. Application is due at the end of current semester.

Apply to be an artsFUSION Scholar

Program Requirements

  • Write a thank you letter to the scholarship donors: The Sorenson Legacy Foundation.
  • Complete regular assignments on Canvas including reflecting on observations and other project-related assignments.
  • Collaborate with an assigned SUU professor to complete an elementary arts project for a minimum of six hours.
  • Observe elementary arts teachers for a minimum of six hours.
  • Students in the artsFUSION Scholars Program must be full time, attending in person, and degree seeking. They must major in elementary education, arts, or arts education (including visual art, music, drama and dance).

Scholarship Showcase Fall 2021

So our theme for the music project we did on December 4th at SUMA was themed towards the Earth Exhibit! Maddi and I did Sounds of Nature. We planned out four stages that represented the ambience of the rainforest using percussion instruments. The energy you present is essential to the overall environment of the classroom! Also that there will be times where things do not go as planned, the goal is to adapt and improvise the lesson to fit the students’ needs!

Kitana Lopez and I came up with a music lesson to present at SUMA that encompasses music of the rainforest. We got a ton of instruments to represent the various animals such as frogs, crickets, snakes, and jaguars (gurios, egg shakers, and rhythm sticks). We also borrowed many instruments to represent rain (thunder tubes, rainstick, ocean drum, egg shakers).

It was awesome to see all of them interacting and making music. Did things go exactly how we originally planned? Of course not! We had to improvise and make up different teaching strategies as we went along. Overall, this project has helped me grow as an educator and I am excited to see what I can accomplish in the future.

The project that I participated in was the Thunder Theatre Drama Club at North Elementary. This was an after school club for 1st and 2nd graders where we taught them some basic principles of theatre through fun, engaging games. We cover topics including, voice, movement, rhythm, collaboration, storytelling, and pantomime. I learned a lot from this experience especially about how much goes into running a program like this. We had to keep this new and exciting for the students because of their short attention span so I learned a lot of fun activities to use with young kids that can teach them principles of theatre. Most importantly I learned that I love working with young kids and this is something that I would be interested in pursuing in the future.

For this project, Kali and I participated in the creation of a drama club for 1st and 2nd graders at North Elementary in Cedar City, Utah. Once the club was created and kids were signed up, Kali and I made lesson plans and were the teachers for the drama club. We met with the students every Tuesday from October 28th to December 14th. I already knew that I loved teaching, but this project simply further solidified my desire to be a teacher. I love teaching. It is one of the main things in my life that puts me in a flow state where I am sufficiently challenged but am not feeling too overwhelmed. I absolutely love that feeling and I am so excited to make it into a career.

For my project, I assisted Professor Hala Swearingen with an art class for kids at SUMA. The goal of these classes was to really stretch the way that the students understood art. Some of the lessons that I taught included making characters out of basic shapes (using ink pads), nature through the eye of pointillism (markers), and a holiday project (watercolors). I assisted a lesson in designing characters made out of clay. These kids are brilliant, talented, and so passionate. They’re funny and kind, but also very humble and willing to learn. I learned so much from them, and can’t wait to see what they continue to do in their lives. I’m sure that their art will change lives because it already changed mine.

The project I chose to do is called Lunch Break. This was a walk in dance class, focused on the dance form of Breaking. It was held every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. This was to create more exposure to other forms in SUU. The place that it was held was in the Tap Studio. I lead every class. This did teach me a lot and I am lucky to be able to hold this class. Above all it showed me that I truly do want to be a teacher. Just practicing in this class I have grown so much as an educator. Each class was built off the last, with also the dynamic that new students would walk in. It made me really good at adjusting things to allow all to participate.

I was able to do one class with dance education students at my current employment . . . with children ages between 8 and 12. We were able to discuss nature elements by creating connective movements. With the increase in positive engagement and behavior I have reason to believe that this project will help special needs students to learn emotional regulation, increase in maladaptive behaviors, and have physical release from the stress and frustration the students are experiencing.

For this project myself and a partner traveled weekly to South Elementary School to implement art into various subjects and topics the class found themselves learning about through their school week. We worked with a 5th grade class and tried to implement various mediums and subjects from history to science. I think a trend for me this semester both as an artist and a future educator is to trust my audience. In the case of a classroom it’s trusting students to gain their own knowledge and allowing them to ask questions as they deem it necessary. As a teacher it’s okay to allow students to teach themselves in some situations with your guidance. I am inspired further to show young artists and potential artists what they can do with their work, whether that means channeling their thoughts and feelings into something productive for themselves, or something thought provoking and productive for others.

Braxton Hyde and I were paired together to prepare art lessons for elementary age students who are in the fifth grade. Each lesson was structured to be correlated with content that was being covered in their regular class. We tried to focus on different art mediums each time to introduce them to different things in the art world. We prepared and held 6 different art sessions throughout the semester, hosting most of them in October and two in December. One thing to make sure that you do is just be yourself and not afraid. These students are wanting you there to teach them about art, which is not something that they probably do everyday. Opening up and being vulnerable with them opens a door to build relationships. And it could be the component they need to help them listen and be engaged in what you are teaching them.

In partnership with Iron County School District, four local community institutions offer an afterschool program called “Wonder Wednesdays.” I worked with a partner, Quinci, to put on two Wednesday activities at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA). Our goal is to align the art project with current exhibits at SUMA. Our purpose in doing this is to encourage and excite children about the museum and its art. The biggest thing I noticed at both events was the interactions between children and their parents. While the children appreciated the help from their parents, they loved it when the parent did the project themselves, alongside the child, and learned from each other. In my future career, I plan on implementing aspects of art therapy in my role as a child-life specialist. After seeing the happier relationships between parents and children who do art together, yet separately, want to use those opportunities to foster connection.

My partner, Chris Kuhlemeier, and I attended various STEAM nights at the local elementary schools. During each of these STEAM nights, we taught about eight 15-minute classes about the science of sound and how instruments work. As part of this, we invented our own instrument, the “Drumbone,” and taught students somewhat of the mathematical process that goes into building one’s own instrument. I learned quite a bit about classroom management. It can be difficult to manage a group with a large age range of children, all of whom have xylophones sitting in front of them. Just having a simple phrase, like “sticks up,” to indicate to students that you need their attention and it’s time to stop playing helped so much. Also don’t be afraid to engage the students; walk right out into the group and give them each a chance to see what you’re presenting. It’s okay to be a little bit goofy and physically exaggerate what you’re teaching; the kids get way more engaged with that stuff.