Program helps deliver art to classrooms

This past year Sonoma State University’s Arts Integration program has helped more than 48 different courses on campus by combining academics disciplines with live art. Over $45,000 worth of tickets have been reserved for Sonoma State students at the Green Music Center. These tickets are part of the schools’ Arts Integration program that will allow academic classes to attend some events. 

According to their website, the Arts Integration program focuses on the classroom. The program puts a human face on abstract concepts and creates non-instructor-centered lessons. The experiential learning lets students use their imagination to dream about the subject they are learning. The program is for any subject, any major or any interest in art. 

Chair of the Theater Department Scott Horstein wants to get as many faculty as possible to work with the program so it can develop into a regular thing. 

“It takes a little bit of planning and course design to figure how you’re going to get your students to an art event or have art-making happen in class,” Horstein said.  He added that he really values the idea of incorporating art in a classroom. “Art is the realm of the imagination, the realm of dreams, the realm of stories,” he said.

 Horstein wants more students to get involved with art and this program is helping accomplish that.

“Every instructor secretly hopes their student is going to, at some point, become so curious and fascinated about biology or whatever the subject being taught, that the student starts to dream about it.  But art is a waking dream, and if that art somehow captures the themes or ideas of the course, then the instructor and student get to use the art to dream about their subject together,” Horstein said.  

This past spring, several classes got to experience the program hands on. Business majors attended rehearsal and performance of HERE: A US-Korean Dance & Live Music Exchange. This original dance work fused traditional Korean dance, contemporary American dance and Indie-Rock music, with student and professional dancers and musicians working together.

 Students who went to any of the events last year found it valuable to their learning experiences, and some professors really enjoyed it as well. 

“Learning art techniques...  inspired me to use them in my own course and adapt them for my learning goals,” professor Cinzia Forasiepi said.

The Arts Integration Program has been successful amongst students and faculty here at Sonoma State. 

This year the program is offering many events such as: Tomatito, Spanish flamenco guitar, on Oct. 23, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, on March 12, at 3 p.m. in Weill Hall. Leela Dance, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Hall and “Waiting for the Parade” by John Murrell on October 13-23 in Person Theatre. 

All of these performances have themes that can be applied to any major. Professors can request free tickets for their class, and can arrange an arts integration for their course by contacting Horstein at Horstein will find the right event, get related readings, and arrange for facilitated discussion with students before or after the event. 

Students and faculty can also check out their website 

“When people say there’s nothing to do on campus, they don’t realize the hundreds of concerts, exhibitions, dances and plays put on by the arts, music, theatre arts and dance departments, in addition to the GMC. We want students to have fun with the art in class so they know it’s there for them outside of class as well,” Horstein.