Kennedy Center Partners In Education Holds Area Workshops

Kassie Misiewicz, Kennedy Center visiting artist, is pictured working with Ring Elementary School third graders in Elizabeth Johnson’s class.

Kassie Misiewicz, Kennedy Center visiting artist, is pictured working with Ring Elementary School third graders in Elizabeth Johnson’s class.

“Today we are going to do improvisation. Have you ever heard that word before?” asked Kassie Misiewicz, Kennedy Center visiting artist, to Ring Elementary School third graders in Elizabeth Johnson’s class. “Have you ever made up a story? That’s what improvisation is. There is no script. I don’t know how it’s going to go. There are just three rules to improvising: take risks, which equals making mistakes, make your partner/team look good through cooperation and using the ‘yes, and’ where we acknowledge what our partner is saying and add onto it.”

Misiewicz worked as a visiting artist with Ring Elementary School students through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education Program. Misiewicz is a professional actor, director and educator from Arkansas who presented “Developing Concentration and Cooperation Skills Through Drama” to Chautauqua Lake and Jamestown Elementary third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers and students.

“The future success of the children in our country depends on their ability to be able to concentrate, collaborate and creatively problem-solve,” Misiewicz said. “Arts integration is the super food of strategies that meets students where they are, teaches to all modalities and engages the students in a deeper way than any other strategy that I have ever found.”

Through the professional workshops with Ms. Misiewicz, teachers learned to build a mutually supportive community with their students. In the professional development workshop, Ms. Misiewicz shares strategies to incorporate drama improvisation games into the classroom to strengthen development of the important social-emotional skills of concentration and cooperation. After the workshop, Ms. Misiewicz visits classrooms and models the activities she taught to teachers with students. This workshop integrates improvisation strategies with the specific need to build valuable social skills.

These professional workshops are part of the partnership team consisting of Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown Public Schools and the Chautauqua Lake Central School District who were named among 10 new inductees in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education Program last spring. This was the second workshop in the series. There will be one more professional workshops sponsored by Chautauqua Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program in March with artist John Bertles called, “Building Musical Instruments from Recycled Materials” at Chautauqua Lake Central School and Jamestown Public Schools.

“Through this and projects like the Young Playwrights Project and Arts Integrated residencies for students with and without disabilities, Chautauqua Institution is committed to being an arts education resource in the lives of Chautauqua County children and their families,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president and director of programming. “The goal for this partnership was set two years ago as a result of the Institution’s strategic plan, which outlined a desire to reach our community beyond the summer season and beyond the gates. Working with Superintendents Ben Spitzer and Tim Mains has been an honor and I’m excited about our joint future in serving children through the arts.”

Kassie Misiewicz is a professional Theatre for Youth director and educator. She has created innovative curriculum and taught teachers and students all over the United States. She is the Executive Artistic Director and Founder of Tricycle Theatre for Youth (Trike Theatre) in Bentonville, Arkansas. Before moving to Arkansas, Ms. Misiewicz was the director of the Education Outreach program at the Seattle Children’s Theatre and Associate Artistic Director at First Stage Children’s Theater in Milwaukee. She received her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre for Young Audiences from Arizona State University and her BA in Theatre from the University of Notre Dame. She has taught and/or directed at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Arizona State University, Walton Arts Center, Growing Stage Theatre for Young Audiences and the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. She is a former executive board member of TYA/USA, the national service organization for Theater for Youth professionals. Kassie leads the Foundational Workshops Tableau Series.

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