The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Arts Conference for Educators on November 19

Remember the days when finger painting, play rehearsals, and sing-along activities filled our classroom time? Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, kids are less likely to have adequate exposure to the arts in school nowadays, says Dr. Robin Love, an associate professor at San Jose State University who teaches in child and adolescent development.

“That’s worrisome because it’s oftentimes the children whose families can’t provide [art exposure] who are the ones most often hurt by that,” Dr. Love says.

To enhance opportunities for children to have access to the arts in their classroom, the San Jose State University’s College of Education and Santa Clara County’s Office of Education are teaming up to co-sponsor the third annual Marion Cilker Conference for Arts in Education to be held on Saturday, November 19 for the general public. Conference-related events held the Friday before are for San Jose State University students only.


“The goal is to help teachers and teacher candidates learn how to integrate art into the regular curriculum,” says Dr. Love, one of the organizers of the conference. “Oftentimes, it’s hard for them to work art into a separate activity. There isn’t enough time in the day. We want attendees to learn how to use art as a vehicle for teaching social studies, science, or math.”

Presenters in all areas of the arts will attend the conference. For example, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will host a workshop called “Playing with Science” where attendees can learn to incorporate science concepts through drama and theater. Another workshop will showcase a teacher and puppeteer demonstrating to attendees how to engage students, particularly English language learners, how to develop their language skills through puppetry.

Dr. Lisa M. Gonzales, the coordinator in curriculum and instruction at Santa Clara County’s Office of Education and another organizer of the event, is hosting an arts expo with 28 local non-profit arts organizations.

“The arts expo offers an opportunity for arts organizations to tell others about the programs they offer, and to share their programs with educators,” Dr. Gonzales says. “The programs are in professional development and/or direct programming for students. Participating organizations include the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, TheatreWorks, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, and the Children’s Musical Theater.”

Dr. Gonzales believes it’s important to have arts education in the schools.

“The most important thing we can do in our schools is to make sure students are engaged in their coursework and feel what they’re learning is relevant, and for them to see connections with their future, and that’s what the arts can do,” she says. “We have over 400 teachers annually who come to this conference, and 95% of attendees strongly agree this is a good use of their time.”

“To attend the conference, it costs $40 per person but it’s $10 for a teacher who’s coming from a Title 1 school,” Dr. Love says. “The funding for this grant came from a local philanthropist named Marion Cilker. She provided the funding so we could run this conference for 10 years. Marion herself is an artist and her mother and grandmother were teachers.”

Visit for information about registration.


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