The Importance of Arts Integration - The English Edition

Recently, a report was released by the Right Brain Initiative (RBI) (Portland, Oregon) that “confirms ‘There is a meaningful and quantifiable link between integrated arts education and student learning,’ specifically:

• Students' reading and math scores increase at least 2.5 times more than the average annual rate of increase.

• This growth is even greater for English Language Learners. Student's scores increased 10 times more after schools partnered with Right Brain.

• For all children, scores continued to rise as schools engaged more deeply with the Initiative, with a particularly large rate of increase for English Language Learners.”

If you are an English 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:


Visualizing Written Words-

As students read literary works, have them identify highly descriptive segments of the writing.  Have them then recreate the scene using a variety of art materials to capture the mood of the author’s words visually.  Teachers may use the following lesson plan as a structural guide-

Personal Narratives as Graphic Novels and Linking Visual Stories to History-


Students learn the power of visual imagery in storytelling and how to layout their personal narrative in the style of graphic novels.  As students form their graphic novel teachers can continue to link visual stories throughout history referring to Aboriginal artwork and cave paintings up through modern times.

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.  In Indianapolis, schedule an architectural tour of the Lilly Mansion on the IMA grounds for students to view the opulence of the period.

The Illiad and Greek Pottery-

Greek vase

As students read The Iliad, have them choose five key scenes from the story that illustrate a moral or key character description.  Have each student choose a final scene and then depict it in a faux terra sigillata technique utilizing flowerpots and acrylic paints.

Guided Tour of IMCPL-


Herron High School students have called the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library their own library for years but the historical, architectural and artistic influences of the 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.