Joan Oates endows Partners in the Arts summer institute
March 7, 2011
Joan Oates of Richmond, Va., has made a gift to the University of Richmond’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) to endow a summer institute that helps teachers learn to integrate the arts into the K-12 curriculum.
The Joan Oates Institute for Partners in the Arts will continue permanently a tradition of helping teachers create curricula and lesson plans to bring the arts into the teaching of such subjects as math, social studies, science and language arts. The summer institute has been held at the university’s Modlin Center for the Arts since its inception in 1995, and participating teachers earn three credits through SCS. The entire Partners in the Arts (PIA) program became a part of the university in September 2009.
The institute works with teachers from Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Powhatan, as well as a number of independent schools. In addition to the summer institute, PIA funds arts-in-education programs in local schools during the academic year.
“The educational model for PIA generally, and for the summer institute in particular, is so powerful that participants routinely comment about the transformative nature of the experience — imparting knowledge and pedagogical skills for sure, but also changing the way they teach and the way students learn,” said James Narduzzi, SCS dean.
Stephen Allred, Richmond provost, serves with Oates on the board of CultureWorks. “I know firsthand her deep commitment to the arts. Her gracious gift will help the University of Richmond maintain its partnership with teachers in promoting the arts for years to come."
A native of Brookline, Mass., Oates came to Richmond with her husband and four children in 1960. She taught music at The Collegiate School and creative teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1990, Richmond’s Arts Council asked her to create Partners in the Arts, which ultimately was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The program brought accomplished artists – painters, dancers, musicians and poets – into K-12 classrooms. The summer institute extended the program to help teachers learn to incorporate the arts into their own teaching.
"We're honored to be part of the University of Richmond now because the university will allow us to keep growing every year," said Oates.
PIA director Liz Sheehan said “PIA epitomizes much that the university values: interdisciplinary teaching and collaborative learning, creating partnerships and providing opportunities for the larger community, particularly teachers, to access the university’s rich educational resources.”