The City as Classroom

The Kennedy Center has spent years studying the best ways to help make the arts an integral part of all of our lives.  As they have looked at the school experience, their research continues to show that students learn best in environments where learning “is active and experiential, reflective, social, evolving, and focused on problem-solving. Arts integration provides learning experiences that reflect all these characteristics.” If you are an Indianapolis teacher looking for ways to integrate the arts into your regular curriculum, Harrison Center artist and former high school teacher, Quincy Owens, has created a whole repository of great things to study and places in the city to take your students.  Here’s a sampling of things to do in our city:

quincy & students


arts integration 1


The Work of Robert Indiana-

Introduce Robert Indiana’s body of work as a form of art completed strictly through the employment of geometry.  Design a lesson employing the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s “Create Your Own AutoPortrait”.

Have students build a geometry vocabulary by identifying the immense amount of geometric standards employed in their own work modeled after Indiana’s art.



The Great Gatsby, Art Nouveau and the Lilly House-

As students read The Great Gatsby, present a discussion covering the highlights of the Art Nouveau era as an introduction to the art and architectural styles of the period as a direct link to the contrast in lifestyles apparent in the book.  Then organize an architectural tour of the Lilly Mansion on the IMA grounds for students to view the opulence of the period.


Guided Tour of IMCPL-

The library is incredible, but the historical, architectural and artistic influences of this building often go unmentioned.  Students can tour the facility to understand the context of the space as well as how to navigate a library properly.  Bonus content includes the recent installation of two large scale public art pieces at the south entrance and a classical sculpture gracing the north entrance.


american legion mall

The Power of Art In Government Architecture and City Planning-

Arts Integration Specialist leads a tour of the American Legion Mall starting at the southern entrance of IMCPL facing south.  The tour will head directly south toward the Indiana War Memorial past the tomb of the Unnamed Soldier into the 24 acre plaza housing two museums, three parks, monuments, statues, sculptures and fountains.  All of which utilize art, intentional layout and concepts and themes to portray different aspects of government and its functioning role in society-both present and past.



WFYI Facility Tour

Take a guided tour of neighboring WFYI communications.  Students will learn a variety of relational aspects of economy as they pertain to the world of radio including key components of advertising.  The tour will finish with a conversation with Travis DiNicola and Sharon Gamble, co-hosts of weekly show “Art of the Matter.”  Economic topics discussed will include the economic impact the arts have on our local economy and how they compare and contrast with other markets on a national scale.