Cindy Foley will talk about arts education at the Human Ecology Forum at the College of the Atlantic on Feb. 28. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Expert to stress importance of art education

BAR HARBOR — Arts education as a vehicle for re-imagined learning in the 21st century will be explored by Cindy Foley, executive deputy director for learning and experience at the Columbus Museum of Art, at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in the McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 4:10 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

In an active, participative presentation, Foley will demonstrate how incorporating art into education has helped foster a greater sense of creativity in students. Rather than minimizing art education in our schools, she argues that teachers and students in this subject area should be encouraged and understood as agents for positive change.

“Art education must move from merely defending its importance to taking the lead in a systemic change for creative process,” Foley said. “Our advocacy message must move away from the defensive towards an impassioned and powerful offensive message around creativity.”

The quantitative values of our current education system have inhibited the ability of students, especially young students, to develop their creativity and curiosity, Foley said. She believes that it is urgent that we use art to ensure that the next generation is raised with the imagination to inquire into the unknown and seek out answers for themselves.

Foley is a frequent public speaker on art education and museum learning. She has been featured twice as a TEDX stage speaker, in 2014 with her presentation “Teaching Art or Teaching To Think like an Artist” and in 2016 on “The Benefits of Boredom.” Tapping into creative techniques wherever she goes, Foley enjoys engaging her audience in her lectures and bringing out the artistic side of everyone she meets.

In 2011, Foley sparked the idea of the Columbus Museum’s Center for Creativity, and in 2013, the project earned the museum a National Medal for Museums award. She has contributed written pieces to “The Manual for Museum Learning” and the 2014 “Journal of Museum Education.”

The COA Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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