Language Translation
  Close Menu

Summer Institute for Creative Teaching

The Summer Institute for Creative Teaching is a three-day, in-person learning experience for Indiana educators and arts administrators who work in educational programming. Through hands-on experience and collaboration with peers, participants will learn effective and innovative teaching strategies to implement in their classrooms. The program includes engaging artistic activities and opportunities to explore how creative teaching can enhance curriculum. Register to attend the three-day workshop on the registration tab below.

Note: This program is eligible for PGP points.

The Summer Institute for Creative Teaching is presented through a partnership of the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Education.

When and where is the Summer Institute?

The 2024 Summer Institute for Creative Teaching will be taking place July 10-12, 2024 at the Herman B. Wells Community Center at Lebanon High School (510 Tiger Way, Lebanon IN, 46052).

See the Agenda tab for a detailed schedule.

What will participants learn?

  • Hands-on art workshops to try new artforms
  • Best practices in using art to enhance learning in other curriculums and standards
  • Connections with creative educators and community arts leaders

Who is the intended audience of the Summer Institute?

  • Classroom Educators K-12 who want to try new creative activities and learn how to apply them to their classroom
  • Arts Education staff at arts organizations who want to connect with other professionals and learn new strategies in arts learning

While arts educators and artists play a critical role in educating students, this conference is designed for those with less experience with arts education and arts integration.

Testimonials from Past Attendees

“Overall this was an amazing experience. I had a great time & learned so much. I'm inspired & motivated to implement what I learned into my class.”

“Poetry & wool felting were both AWESOME! One was academic and methodic while the other was hands on & experiential.”

    • 100% of last year’s attendees said the conference was fun and informative.
    • 97% said it was relevant to their work directly.
    • 97% said they would attend again and 100% would recommend to a friend!


Q: Why not Art Teachers?
A: This program is meant to *introduce* creativity and art to non-arts educators. Art Teachers already bring their creativity and arts skills to their classrooms every day. Much of the strategies covered in the conference will already be known by arts educators. Fine arts educators (music teachers, visual art teachers, etc) and artists play a critical role in educating students. This conference is designed for those with less experience with arts education and arts integration to connect with their creative side.

Day 1 - Wednesday, July 10

Time Block (Eastern Time) Title and PresenterDescription
12:30 - 1:00 PM Registration Table Opens Arrive early so you don’t miss our opening performance!
1:00 - 1:15 PM  Epiphany African Dance Collective Epiphany Dance Collective is an African dance company based in Indianapolis. This dynamic group of adult and teen performers has been cultivating West African dance since 2010. Through quality artistic performances, Epiphany Dance Collective entertains, educates, and preserves African traditions. 
1:00 - 2:20 PM Welcome Session Welcome session will include guest speakers, an Arts Integration 101 talk, and will preview the sessions to come throughout the conference
2:30 - 3:20 PM (OR)
3:30 - 4:30 PM
Felt Painting as Self-Expression with  Paula Scott Frantz This session explores needle felting as a way to access imagination and the enjoyment of self-expression.
2:30 - 3:20 PM (OR)
3:30 - 4:30 PM
Improv Games for Academic and Social Success with Jim Ansaldo In this active and participatory workshop, participants will experience fun and impactful improv theater games that support the academic and social success of all students! We’ll explore ways to implement the games in any classroom and discuss how improv games align with the Universal Design for Learning framework, and participants will gain access to a free online “starter pack” of games.
2:30 - 3:20 PM (OR)
3:30 - 4:30 PM
Writing the 3-Part Poem aka ‘J9 with Curtis Crisler This session will use the “J9” prompt for groups (and individual writing) to explore and develop new poems.
2:30 - 3:20 PM (OR)
3:30 - 4:30 PM
Cultural Dance of West Africa with Ronne Stone Participants will be introduced to traditional dance techniques and symbols of West Africa and participate in group and solo dance opportunities.
2:30 - 3:20 PM (OR)
3:30 - 4:30 PM
Street Art and Mathematics Workshop with Leon Crosby Using rulers, pencils, and pens to create street art style lettering and create 3d designs. Incorporating measurements into drawing is a great way to engage visual learners with math.
3:50 PM - 4:30 PM Understanding Both Worlds: Collaboration and Communication Between Teachers and Arts Organizations (Arts Administrator Track) In this session designed for arts administrators, join us for an insightful panel discussion on fostering effective communication and collaboration between teachers and arts organization staff. Learn practical strategies and tools that promote understanding, trust, and shared goals within educational settings.
4:30 - 7:00 PM Optional Networking Event Details to come!

Day 2 - Thursday, July 11

Time Block (Eastern Time) Title and PresenterDescription
9:00 - 10:15 AM Keynote Session As we launch the second day of the Summer Institute, we'll hear from Indiana superintendents about how creativity and the arts are important to student growth and learning.
10:30 AM -12:00 PM Dancing through the Curriculum with Melli Hoppe In this interactive dance workshop, you will learn how the elements of dance can bring joy into your classroom while connecting with themes such as: cloud types, simple machines, layers of a pond or rainforest, states of matter, parts of speech and the water cycle. This workshop will also address SEL skills including:  self-awareness, self-management, cooperation, and problem solving.
10:30 AM -12:00 PM Theatre Integration Techniques: Beyond Readers Theatre with Christy Burgess This interactive theatre session will allow participants to be 'students' in a theatre integration classroom and experience the joy and learning that happens when you add  theatre techniques to the curriculum.
10:30 AM -12:00 PM Retelling:  Using Music to Communicate Key Details of a Story with Kristi Unger and Emily France In this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to create a music arts integrated lesson. This will involve understanding how to align the lesson with standards, develop engaging content, and assess student learning. Additionally, participants will get to experience the lesson as a student, allowing for a more immersive and hands-on learning experience.
10:30 AM -12:00 PM Drawing Conclusions: Leading Drawing Projects for Non-Artists with Jingo De La Rosa If you "can't draw a stick figure" but still know that drawing could get your students engaged, come to this session to learn basic elements and techniques of illustration art that will be able to be used in any unit of learning.
10:30 AM -12:00 PM Arts Learning Program Design Best Practices (Arts Administrator Track) Discover proven best practices in our interactive workshop designed to empower arts organizations to create engaging, relevant, and effective arts learning experiences. This session will also include content dedicated to including accessibility for students with special needs, and a Q&A with speakers.
1:30 - 1:45 PM Student Performance Details to come!
1:30 - 3:00 PM Connecting Conversations With Art Stations (Arts Administrator Track) Arts Admin staff, it’s time for a brain break! Debrief with fellow arts org attendees, network, and share ideas, or engage in art making at a variety of stations around the space.
1:45 - 2:50 PM Making Connections through Learning Together we'll debrief what each deep dive experience covered and how we can make connections back to our everyday work.
3:00 - 5:30 PM Excursion 1: Thorntown Visual Arts Experience Hop on the Bus to Thorntown! At Sugar Creek Art Center participants will tour the art studio, make art, and have a walking tour of nearby murals.
3:00 - 5:30 PM Excursion 2: Lebanon Theatre and Downtown District Experience Staying local, this short bus ride will have several stops along the way. First we'll visit Black Box Theatre Studio, then we will head to the downtown district to get an arts experience.
3:00 - 5:30 PM Excursion 3: Zionsville Cultural District and Music Experience All Aboard to Zionsville! This excursion will visit several Zionsville arts organizations to experience Performing Arts magic.

Day 3 - Friday, July 12

Time Block (Eastern Time) Title and PresenterDescription
8:00 - 8:50 AM Networking Breakfast Connect with fellow attendees over a hot breakfast spread and collect contact info for future collaborations.
9:00 - 9:30 AM Day 3 Welcome Session Gather for the third day welcome session.
9:30 - 10:30 AM How to Communicate Program Value to Stakeholders (Arts Administrator Track) Join our panel discussion to learn effective ways to communicate the value of your program to school administration, stakeholders, teachers, community members, and more. Gain insights on messaging strategies that resonate with funders, to generate support and recognition for your initiatives.
9:30 - 10:30 AM IRL: Arts in the Classroom "In Real Life" Hear from a panel of the 2023 Fellowship For Creative Teaching classroom educators about their Creative Teaching projects and partnerships.
10:45 -11:45 AM Benefits of Expanding Your Teaching Artist Roster with Different Perspectives Join our panel discussion to explore strategies for expanding your teaching artist roster. Learn from experts about the wonderful outcomes that can happen when we look beyond our immediate network to create arts learning programming.
10:30 -11:45 AM Artists in Classrooms: All the Logistics You Never Knew You Needed Hear from arts integration expert Stephanie Haines of the Indiana Arts Commission about the logistics of collaboration between classrooms and arts organizations including questions you should be asking and how you can avoid the common pitfalls.
11:30 AM -12:00 PM See you later, not goodbye. The big sendoff of the conference will include Raffle Prizes, a performance, and more.

Register to attend the Summer Institute for Creative Teaching.

The registration fee is highly subsidized and represents only a fraction of the whole cost of the event. The registration cost covers 3 days of enriching activities, carefully designed professional development experiences, all materials and supplies, and meals including two lunches and two breakfasts.

Scholarships are available. Apply for Scholarships here.

Registration TypeFee to Attend
Early Registration (February 22- May 1)$75
Regular Registration (May 2 -  May 28, or until spots are filled.)$110
Image of half of woman's face 

Paula Scott Frantz
Felt Painting as Self-Expression

Paula has worked as a fiber artist for 25 years, teaching art at Newfields Museum of Art, St.Vincent’s Cancer Care Center, and Indianapolis Marion County Public Library. Paula gives private workshops and is twice a recipient of the Lifelong Arts Program Grant.

Image of man 

Jim Ansaldo
Improv Games for Academic and Social Success

Jim Ansaldo, PhD, is a Research Scholar at the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University Bloomington. For 20 years, he has conducted research, supported school change efforts, and facilitated teacher professional learning around applied improvisation, coaching and consultation, culturally sustaining pedagogies, curriculum design, and online learning. Jim is a founder and co-director of Camp Yes And, an improv-based professional learning intensive for educators who support teens on the autism spectrum ( For this work, Jim was honored with a 2017 Certificate of Commendation Award by the Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Jim trained at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and leads improv-based workshops that support IU scientists, scholars, and health professionals to communicate about their research in clear, vivid, and engaging ways. Jim has worked with faculty at the IU School of Medicine to integrate improv with cognitive behavioral therapy to support youth with anxiety disorders, and he has collaborated with the Alzheimer's Resource Service of IU Health Bloomington Community Health to offer improv workshops for individuals living with dementia, their families, and professional caregivers.

Image of man with hand on chin 

Curtis Crisler
Writing the 3-Part Poem aka ‘J9

Crisler, an award-winning poet/author, has a new book called Doing Drive-bys on How to Love in the Midwest. He has six poetry books, two YA books, and five poetry chap-books, and he has been published in a variety of magazines, journals, and anthologies. He’s the Indiana Poet Laureate and Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW).

Image of woman 

Ronne Stone
Cultural Dance of West Africa

Ronne Stone is a Florida native with a background in dance spanning over 29 years. Her earliest exposure to African dance was at the Orlando School of Cultural Dance. She was a company member of Kuumba in Tampa, Florida and Adefua Dance Company in Seattle, Washington. She has traveled extensively to study West African dance under the instruction of countless masters in this field. Ronne has taught several classes for Indiana University and was a lead instructor for the African American Dance workshops at Indiana University in Bloomington for 2 years. Ronne obtained a Fine Arts degree from Indiana University in 2010. Currently, she is the Director and Choreographer of Epiphany Dance Collective, an Adjunct Professor at Butler University, and teaches Fine Art at Tindley Genesis Academy.

Image of man in front of striped background 

Leon Crosby
Street Art and Mathematics Workshop

Leon Crosby is an eclectic artist who loves to immerse himself in all styles of art. He began his art journey in Toledo, Ohio where he studied formally and also through an immersion in street art culture. In 2020 he received the People’s Choice Award for his piece titled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” in the Muncie Arts Walk Chalk it Up to Kindness event.
Image of woman 

Martha Beckort
Panelist - Understanding Both Worlds: Collaboration and Communication Between Teachers and Arts Organizations

Martha Beckort served as Media Specialist, Distance Learning Coordinator and unofficial grant writer for the Lanesville Community School Corporation (Harrison County) for 25 years. She successfully wrote 11 IAC grants to support the Fine Arts program of her schools.

Image of woman 

Melli Hoppe
Dancing through the Curriculum

Melli Hoppe is a Nationally Credentialed Teaching Artist with Young Audiences Arts for Learning and a certified Wolf Trap Teaching Artist. She has a B.A. in Dance from Columbia College in Chicago, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont, received a Teaching Artist Certificate from Teachers College at Columbia University and has completed over 100 hours of training in student-empowering, healing-centered, and culturally responsive practices from Responsive Arts in School Education (RAISE) through Young Audiences Arts for Learning.

Image of woman in front of mural 

Christy Burgess
Theatre Integration Techniques: Beyond Readers Theatre

Christy Burgess is the lead teacher for the Robinson Shakespeare Company. Christy attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and received her M.A. in Drama and Theatre Education from the University of Warwick. Christy worked at the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre as Education Manager and traveled to parts of rural Alaska to teach youth and Alaska Native Elders. In 2011-2012, she was a North American Teaching Consultant for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In recognition of her work, Christy has been awarded the D. Susan Wisely Youth Worker of the Year Award, a Michiana 40 Under 40 title, and a Journey Fellowship. She is now the Education Co-Chair for the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

Image of woman 

Kristi Unger
Retelling:  Using Music to Communicate Key Details of a Story

Kristi's background as a former elementary classroom teacher and literacy coach, along with her Arts Integration Specialist Certification from the Institute for Arts Integration and Steam, showcases her dedication to using the arts as a powerful tool for student learning. As the Director of Education at Honeywell Arts & Entertainment, Kristi is committed to the development of engaging lessons and programs that reach each child and empower educators in their own professional growth.

Image of woman in theater

Emily France
Retelling:  Using Music to Communicate Key Details of a Story

Emily has taught choral and general music in both public and private schools grades preschool through 12 since 1997. She has also worked as a collaborative pianist for several years at Manchester University. Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN. She currently works as a Teaching Artist for Honeywell Arts & Entertainment in Wabash, Indiana, working with Arts Integrated lessons, Visual Thinking Strategies and facilitating Healing Arts sessions.  She resides in Wabash with her husband and four children.
Image of man outside 

Jingo De La Rosa
Drawing Conclusions: Leading Drawing Projects for Non-Artists

Jingo M. de la Rosa is a commercial illustrator, art educator, community artist, and urban sketcher. He has created art for renowned organizations such as the NBA, the NCAA, ‘47 Brand Apparel, The Houston Symphony, and Sakura of America. Jingo has helped lead initiatives such as CreativeMornings and Urban Sketchers, where he seeks to cultivate his city’s creative community. He has also taught drawing and illustration for both Herron School of Art & Design and Butler University. Jingo is a native of Manila, Philippines; but now calls Indianapolis his home.

Image of woman 

DeAnne Taggart
Arts Learning Program Design Best Practices

DeAnne Taggart is a Solutions Specialist at the Southern Indiana Education Center and an Educational Studies doctoral student at Ball State University. She has been involved in K-12 education for close to 30 years, serving as a classroom teacher, professional learning director, and central office administrator.

Image of woman in front of colorful painting 

Emily Compton
Arts Learning Program Design Best Practices

Emily Compton has been at ArtMix since 2001 and is the co-creator of the Urban Artisans program. She has a B.A. in Art History from Indiana University & Art Education from Herron School of Art. Emily is a Teaching Artist & a Program Director. She has taught in nearly every type of program that ArtMix offers- vocational, recreational & educational. In addition to her work, she is a practicing artist in printmaking, painting & ceramics.

Image of man 

Dr. Milleman
Keynote Session - Superintendent Panel

Dr. Milleman has served as Superintendent of the Lebanon Community School Corporation since 2019. He has extensive experience in public education, including suburban, urban, and rural districts ranging in size from 1,200 students to 20,000 students. Dr. Milleman is visionary, with a belief in innovative leadership to support and implement best practices, specifically in the areas of educational neuroscience, social and emotional learning, culturally responsive teaching, and blended learning. Dr. Milleman believes there is greatness in every student, and he is committed to attracting, supporting, and retaining high-quality staff. He is invested in our community and believes that communication starts with listening and learning.
Image of man 

Dr. Travis Madison
Keynote Session - Superintendent Panel

Dr. Madison has over 27 years of experience in public education. He began his career as an English Teacher, Basketball/Tennis/Golf Coach then transitioned to Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at White River Valley Schools.  He served as Middle/High School Principal, and Superintendent at Barr-Reeve Community Schools for a combined 21 years. During his tenure, Barr-Reeve’s Schools were honored consistently as Indiana Four Star Schools and garnered National Blue Ribbon School Distinction in 2017.

Image of man at a desk 

Dr. David Hoffert
Keynote Session - Superintendent Panel

Dr. David Hoffert serves as the Superintendent (2014-current) in the Warsaw Community Schools. Prior to his current position, he served as the Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer in the Warsaw Community Schools (2011-2014), principal of Northfield Jr./Sr. High (2009-2011) in Wabash, IN, and as a history teacher and boys track coach at Warsaw Community High School (2002-2009). David graduated from Warsaw Community High School, received his undergraduate degree in secondary education from Anderson University, Master's Degree from Olivet Nazarene University, Principal's Licensure from Indiana Wesleyan University, Education Specialist, and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana State University.
Image of woman in front of door 

Lakesha Green
Keynote Session Facilitator - Superintendent Panel

Lakesha Green is the Executive Director of The Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts. Prior to Wagon Wheel, Lakesha has been director of Youth Programs Coordinator at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, N.Y., where she worked with community groups, school districts and other nonprofit organizations to build community engagement and audience development. Lakesha has spent the past 25 years consulting and directing all over the northeast building capacities for non-profit organizations. Green earned a Leveraging Engagement and Action in Diversity Executive Certificate from Indiana Tech and serves as a member of the Arts United Cohort for the Northeast Panel. Green holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from The Alabama State University and an MFA in Media and Performing arts from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Image of man holding instrument 

Eric Salazar
Panel Facilitator

Eric Salazar is The Clarinet Guy. He is a performer, composer, and public speaker who plays the music he loves to play and wants to share it with as many people as possible.
Image of man in front of black background 

Robert Townsend
Panelist - How to Communicate Program Value to Stakeholders

Robert T. Townsend is a professor and Department Chair, Secondary and P-12 programs at Indiana Wesleyan University. His degrees are from Western Michigan University, Indiana University, and the Ph.D. (Secondary Education) from the University of Illinois. Robert has over 25 years of experience educating P-12 students and educators. In addition, he serves as Co-Founder/Artistic Director of The Performing Arts Conservatory; an after-school program ( He resides in Indiana with his wife, Bridget.

Image of person wearing hat 

Clockwork Janz
Panelist - Benefits of Expanding Your Teaching Artist Roster with Different Perspectives

Clockwork Janz is a queer + non-binary musician, organizer, culinary artist, and cat parent based in Indianapolis. A native Hoosier, their passion lies in dismantling intersectional racism and its many tendrils that have rooted in the US; they work to plant systems of love, critical thought, grace, and whimsy to fill those cavities. Their present post as Director of Creative Talent + Equitable Practices at Arts for Learning Indiana has been their greatest vehicle for change since 2019.

Image of a woman in front of brick wall 

Alia Hawkins
Panelist  -  Benefits of Expanding Your Teaching Artist Roster with Different Perspectives

Alia E. Hawkins is the founder and executive director of Beachfront Dance School, a not-for-profit dance school located in Gary, Indiana. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Juris Doctor from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a former classical ballet dancer. Currently, she is in healthcare compliance law and is a registered mediator.

Image of woman 

Dana Vanderburgh
Panelist - How to Communicate Program Value to Stakeholders

Dana Vanderburgh is the Associate Director of Community Engagement & Programming at Kids Dance Outreach (KDO). Dana's curiosity in translating her passion for dance into a passion for exploring and advocating for the power of dance to empower individuals and communities led her to the field of community arts education after stopping the pursuit of a professional dance performance career. In addition to her work with KDO, Dana is also a Ph.D. Candidate in Social-Cultural Anthropology at Indiana University where she is continuing her academic research on themes related to dance, community building, and environmental justice.

Image of woman 

Lindsay Platt
Panelist -  How to Communicate Program Value to Stakeholders

Lindsay Platt is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, with a degree in Arts Administration from Butler University. She has worked for nonprofits and in music throughout her career, with fundraising, teaching, administration, and programming positions. Lindsay is currently the Director of Development for the Fort Wayne Children's Choir, responsible for individual and corporate giving, fundraising events, and overseeing grants and marketing. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Sigma Alpha Iota, The VoiceCare Network, and the Music Teachers National Association.

Image of woman in theatre 

Lauren Shelton
Panelist - Benefits of Expanding Your Teaching Artist Roster with Different Perspectives

Lauren Shelton is the founding Executive Director of the Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation at Butler University. Prior to arriving at Butler University, Shelton implemented the return of the visual and performing arts to the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She also served as faculty for the Longy School of Music of Bard College Masters of Arts in Teaching program. Shelton holds a California Teaching Credential, California Administrative Credential, and completed her Masters in Educational Leadership with a focus on Arts Integration and Common Core Standards Implementation with honors. In June 2015 she was a recipient of the Yale School of Music Distinguished Educator of the Year Award and most recently received the Outstanding Administrator Award from the California Music Educators Association at the state and local level.

Coming Soon!

Stephanie Haines
Arts Education and Accessibility Manager
Indiana Arts Commission

(317) 450-9973