Interludes provide all Academy participants with the opportunity to receive cross-disciplinary training. Multiple workshops in each content area are open to everyone. All participants are expected to attend one 45-minute interlude session each afternoon. The interludes occur from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 2:55 to 3:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2019 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Balloons in the Classroom

Presenter: Sam Cremeens


In this interlude, Sam the Balloon Man (aka Sam Cremeens) will demonstrate the value of using balloons in the classroom, especially in the visual and performing arts. Discussion will include instruction on how to twist a balloon dog (we all have to start with the basics) and how to use balloons as a performing tool.

With sixteen years’ experience as a balloon entertainer, Sam the Balloon Man is one of Nashville’s premier balloon artists. He performs at more than 300 events every year and travels the world as a renowned instructor of balloon art. Sam the Balloon Man will also perform for the Arts Academy Vendor Fair on Thursday.


Getting the Ball Rolling: A Guide for the Choral Ensemble

Presenter: Jeffery Ames


Are you or your choristers bored with the same old warm-ups? In this interlude, participants will experience first-hand how bodily movement and play can enhance a warm-up routine. Participants will leave the session energized and with sharper minds that are ready to tackle just about anything!

Jeffery Ames is professor of music and director of choral activities at Belmont University. His prior posts include positions at Texas’s Baylor University and Florida’s Lincoln and Edgewater High Schools. Ames enjoys teaching music, but more importantly, he enjoys building a community of singers into a family of singers.

How Technology Can Support Creative Movement in the Music Classroom

Presenter: Rita Black


In this session, attendees will participate in learning that creatively uses movement and technology to explore music concepts such as texture, form, dynamics, tempo, expression, and reflection. Texture in music will be demonstrated visually through the use of props and materials. Attendees will also work in pairs and small and large groups to explore other music concepts. 


Rita Black teaches music at Glendale Spanish Immersion School in the Metro Nashville Public Schools. She has taught music for twenty-four years, in both Oklahoma and Tennessee. In 2017, Black was one of only ten music educators in the United States to receive the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award. She continues to mentor university student teachers and present at local and national conferences. 

Songwriting Projects that Students Love

Presenter: Christopher Blackmon


This session will focus on how to introduce commercial songwriting to music students. Web resources will be used to create memorable songwriting activities that students will never forget.


Christopher Blackmon has been a music teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools since 2009. He has a passion for igniting hope, cultivating character, teaching musical-language literacy, and integrating technology and problem solving into the curriculum. He has produced several original children’s musicals and recordings, and is a three-time winner of the CMA Music Teachers of Excellence Award. 

The Arts as a Reflection of Culture

Presenter: Anthony DeQuattro

(Monday and Wednesday)
For centuries people have expressed themselves through the arts. In this presentation, participants will examine the music, dance, theater, and visual art of some world cultures to gain a better understanding of the joys and struggles of communities around the globe.

Artfully Adding Ukulele to the Classroom

Presenter: Sarah Fairfield

For those who wonder if they can play the ukulele or teach it to their students, this session will convince them that it is possible! Participants will learn the basics of playing this versatile instrument and develop artful techniques for adding ukulele instruction to the general music classroom.

Engaged Music Listening

Presenter: Brent Gault

Listening is the primary way we experience music. In this session, participants will explore ways to heighten the listening experience by creating active representations of musical ideas and making interdisciplinary connections with selected musical examples.

Why We Teach the Arts

Presenter: Timothy J. Holtan

What is each person’s driving motivation behind teaching the arts? Are connections truly being made with students, and what do those connections look like? In this interlude, Timothy Holtan will discuss these questions and more.

Academy Chorale

Presenter: Alan McClung

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Please come and join other participants as the Academy Chorale prepares a program of music to be performed at the Academy luncheon on Friday. The Academy Chorale performs under the direction of Alan McClung, the Academy’s secondary choral instructor.

Community Folk Dance

Presenter: David Row

Swing your partner, right hand star, do-si-do, and promenade home! In this session, David Row will share some quick and easy strategies to get kids dancing and moving freely. Participants will explore several different folk dance favorites and discuss tips and tricks for creating successful lessons.

Session Title: Folk Music and Movement

Presenter: Teresa West

Please come and join the fun as the presenter shares three multicultural folk songs and companion dances. Favorite performance ideas for incorporating these into a folk dance program will be presented.

Teresa West teaches general music at Walnut Grove Elementary School in Williamson County and has worked there for more than twenty-five years. West is a past president for the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and has completed three levels of Orff-Schulwerk training.


Acting with Archetypes

Presenter: Josh Chenard

Ever-present in classic mythology, literature, psychology, art, and even personal thoughts and memories, archetypes exist as energies and characters that have spanned time and culture. Using breath, movement, voice, and imagination, participants in this interlude will explore several archetypes that enhance character development, deepen the connection between text and action, and heighten intuition.

Dramatic Definitions

Presenter: Bethany Corey-Ekin

Bethany Corey-Ekin will demonstrate how actor tools can be used to help students connect with content. Participants will learn how to use the tools of body, voice, mind, and imagination to construct and deconstruct definitions and build vocabulary skills.

Rehearsing Shakespeare’s Fools

Presenter: Zachary Fine

(Monday and Wednesday)
This session will present a mock audition scenario to uncover the fun and ridiculous world of Shakespeare’s fools. Participants will use text and comedic characters from Shakespeare’s plays to explore the audition process. The skills that will be explored include identifying ways of playing with verse and prose when portraying different types of fools and clowns, as well as understanding how to make a positive impression at an audition.

Sensory Playwriting

Presenter: Tamara Goldbogen

Join Tamara Goldbogen for a playwriting workshop that will explore enjoyable and effective ways to get students writing. Participants will dive into playwriting with all their senses engaged, and hands-on activities will inspire them to approach writing in new ways.

Fitting in the Fitz

Presenter: Chauntee’ Schuler Irving

In this session, Chauntee’ Irving will teach an abbreviated introduction to Fitzmaurice voice work techniques. The interlude will include forty-five minutes of floor work and targeted exercises that are designed to quickly and succinctly integrate the body, breath, voice, and sound in the acting classroom. Participants should come prepared to work on the floor and dressed in comfortable clothes that allow them to move freely. Bringing a mat is also recommended, but can be provided if needed.

Shakespeare as a Contact Sport

Presenter: Carmen-maria Mandley

Jump! Roll! Slide! This wildly physical approach to Shakespeare’s text will foster excitement for Shakespeare’s words and help participants make personal connections with his world and characters. The session is great for the beginning Shakespeare lover as well as veteran performers and teachers. The approach is a perfect fit for high school students who are engaging Shakespeare’s text for the first time.

On With My Speech

Presenter: Carmen-maria Mandley

Explore wild and whirling words! This session will show that Shakespeare is much more poetry, passion, and wit than just tights, kissing, and funny accents. This revealing play shop will inspire participants to learn about Shakespeare’s language, his relationships, his textual secrets, and his writerly voice. The approach is designed to get students of all ages (elementary through high school) to engage with Shakespeare for the first time.

Carmen-maria Mandley is an actor and director for the Tennessee Shakespeare Company in Memphis, where she serves as its education and outreach manager. She has taught, acted, and directed for numerous theatres across the country including the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Florida, and the Portland Stage in Maine. Mandley trained at Shakespeare and Company and at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. She is a published poet and a produced playwright.

Dancing a Legacy

Presenter: Lynnette Young Overby

This workshop will provide teachers with the tools they need to lead a movement experience that focuses on a personal history: the legacy of women in the lives of their students. Working individually and in small groups, participants will use choreography to express a variety of character traits.


Art for a Cause

Presenters: Christan Allen and Karen Strachan


You're never too young to have a voice! This interactive workshop will explore ways to address social justice issues in the art classroom. Participants will create three different projects that can be adapted for elementary through high school students. These projects will explore a variety of ways to advocate for a cause: personal pendants, collaborative monoprint quilts, and canvassing with handmade relief prints. 


Christan Allen and Karen Strachan work together in the education department for the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, where they work to unite art and horticulture in new and accessible ways for all learners. Allen is the outreach coordinator and sees more 20,000 students annually through the Dixon's long-standing program, Art to Grow. Strachan is the youth programs coordinator. In her role, she develops and facilitates innovative onsite programming through field trips and professional development opportunities. 

Writing about Art

Presenter: Susan Bee 


This session will show teachers how to organize an Empty Bowls program that is specifically designed for Title I Elementary Schools. The participants will learn about hand-building bowls with kindergarten through fifth grade students, the story of Stone Soup, and how to create an unforgettable community event. This twist on Empty Bowls allows students and families from low-income backgrounds to participate in giving back while also enjoying an inexpensive Stone Soup dinner.

Guess Who? Gamifying Art History for the Art Classroom

Presenter: Jeremy Blair 


This session will share innovative approaches on how to use games to teach art history to students of all ages. Participants will review strategies from popular board games and explore ways that these games can be reinterpreted to teach the history of art. The group will first play art history-inspired Guess Who? and Cranium. Then they will work together to brainstorm and design their own gamified elements. The overall aim of the interlude is to show teachers how to use the participatory and community-building nature of games to develop new instructional strategies in the art classroom. 


Jeremy Blair is an assistant professor of art education at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Social-emotional Learning in the Art Room

Presenter: Lauren Cochran


This talk and “mini make and take” will present experiences and resources that have been used to turn the art classroom into a place of social-emotional learning for students. The presenter, who is a trainer for the Tennessee Department of Education’s Strong Brains initiative, will share research-based concepts with the group and show art educators how easy and natural it is to make social-emotional learning part of visual arts teaching. 

Lauren Cochran is an art educator at Liberty Elementary School in the Franklin Special Schools District located in Williamson County. She has taught in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee and has also worked outside of the school setting teaching art education for various nonprofits. 

Project Demonstration: The Clay Lady Way

Presenter: Danielle McDaniel


During this workshop, Danielle McDaniel, the Clay Lady will demonstrate more than twenty-five projects that are appropriate for most ages, most classroom set-ups, and most curriculums.


Danielle McDaniel, the Clay Lady, has dedicated her life to the transformative power of art by teaching clay to hundreds of thousands of children and ensuring that clay is taught in the classroom by educating art teachers. She created the Clay Lady’s Campus, an art community in Nashville, Tennessee, which works with more than five hundred students and artists each week.


Developing Motif: Using Basquiat as Inspiration for Altered Monotypes

Presenter: Emily McEneely 


Educators in this session will learn how to teach a lesson appropriate for fifth to eighth grade students on developing personal symbols and using expressive line in a monotype artwork inspired by Jean-Michelle Basquiat. During the interlude, participants will explore printmaking and ways of using additional layers to expand their work. A lesson outline and a list of resources needed to teach the lesson will also be shared. 

Emily McEneely has been an elementary public school art educator for more than ten years. McEneely has recently relocated to Tennessee from her home state of New Jersey and is working to further embrace authentic, choice-based art education in traditional environments.

Art Therapy in Schools and Communities: Building Partnerships with Art Therapists
Presenter: Rachel Murphy Norman

(Wednesday and Thursday)

What is art therapy? Where does art therapy take place? How can educators, administrators, and parents create partnerships with art therapists to meet the mental, emotional, and behavioral needs of students in Tennessee? In this session, a credentialed art therapist will address these frequently asked questions and present case examples that show ways that art therapists have worked with schools and communities across the state. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about connecting with local art therapists and advocating for art therapy programs and services in their own schools.

Rachel Murphy Norman is a registered art therapist based in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked in various settings across middle Tennessee including inpatient behavioral health, outpatient community services, foster care, and kinship foster care. She currently serves as associate art therapy program director with MyCanvas Youth Community Arts and as an art therapist and support group coordinator with Family and Children’s Service. 


Get to Know TAEA 

Presenter: Janis Stivers Nunnally 


This session will provide an opportunity for all Tennessee art educators to talk to board members of the Tennessee Arts Educators Association (TAEA.) After a short presentation, board members will answer questions. Participants will also learn how to apply for the presentation of a SuperSession at the TAEA state conference, which will be held on October 24–26, 2019, at Watkins College of Art in Nashville, Tennessee.

Janis Stivers Nunnally is the current past president of TAEA and the state conference chair. She is a middle school art educator at Upperman Middle School in Baxter, Tennessee. Nunnally is also in the current NAEA School for Art Leaders class and a member of the SE NAEA Art leadership. 

The Impact of Visual Arts in Alternative School Settings 

Presenter: Ednita Prentiss


This interactive workshop will offer unique ways to keep students engaged from start to finish while keeping classroom behaviors under control. In this session, participants will create a group grid drawing, a book using large sheets of drawing paper, and a carry portfolio. Participants will work in marker or color pencil and produce a finished example to take back to their classrooms. 


Ednita Prentiss is an artist, entrepreneur, and educator from Mississippi. Prentiss is a visual arts educator in Memphis, Tennessee, and the owner of Artistic Motif T-shirt and Accessory Company, which is located in north Mississippi. The Arrowhead Magazine located in Clinton, Mississippi, has published several pieces of her artwork.

Tie Dye

Presenter: David Reynolds 


Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with tie dye and walk away with a dyed creation of their own. 

For the last seven years, David Reynolds has been an art educator in Williamson County. He is currently the art teacher at Moore Elementary School in Franklin, Tennessee. In addition to teaching, David is a freelance graphic designer and video editor. This is his third year as a TAA visual are facilitator. 

Exploring the Magic of Indigo: Shibori for the Elementary and Middle School Classroom

Presenter: Libby Scanlan 


This interactive workshop will offer elementary and middle school art educators the opportunity to explore the art of shibori. Participants will learn a brief history of dying with indigo before folding, binding, and dying fabric. This interlude will be presented as a one-class project that teachers can take back to their classrooms. Lesson plans tied to national visual arts standards will be provided.


Libby Scanlan is an art educator at Glendale Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee. Scanlan earned a degree in metalsmithing from the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee. She brings her love of craft to this interlude with a fiber arts lesson.

Creating Color Patterns with Clay

Presenter: Kim Shamblin 

(Monday and Wednesday)

This interlude is will be held in two parts. Participants will be provided with knowledge of ceramic techniques for all levels and shown how to make connections across disciplines. Participants will create agateware (also called nerikomi or neriage in Japanese). This technique creates a marbled effect in clay by using layers of clay to create patterns or designs in blocks that can then be sliced or thrown to make vessels, plates, and many other objects.


Kim Shamblin has been teaching elementary and middle school in the Millington area for twenty-four years. Shamblin is currently teaching art at Millington Elementary School and has been a TAA facilitator for the past eleven years. In 2016, she was named Tennessee Art Education Association Middle Level Art Teacher of the Year.

No Money, No Problem

Presenter: Allison Swanner 


In this session, participants will learn about fundraising through two different styles of Family Art Night (FAN). The idea behind FAN is to organize a community event for students and their families. At the event, each student or family member creates a meaningful work of art. This not only creates a memorable experience, but fosters a positive school climate and raises a significant amount of money for the art program as well. The session will discuss how to organize, schedule, and promote FAN events. Participants will also have the time to share their own fundraising tips and tricks. 


Allison Swanner is an elementary art teacher with ten years of experience in East Tennessee. She is also the director of the Exceptional Artist Art Camp that hosts more than two hundred students each summer. Swanner connects art with her community through events such as Family Art Night, Empty Bowls, a system-wide formal art show, and summer camps.