The Right Brain Initiative introduces annual arts education seminar



Imagine This: A Seminar on Bringing Creativity to Classrooms
Monday, June 21 – Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Leftbank Annex | 101 N Weidler, Portland, OR 97227

Open to all educators, artists, parents, community leaders
Beginning May 26, see full schedule of sessions and register at:
Cost: $250; single-day option $100

The Right Brain Initiative invites educators, artists, parents and community leaders from around the region to envision an education system with a permanent place for the arts at its first annual Imagine This, a three-day arts education seminar. This summit unique to the Portland area is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of educators and community leaders interested in expanding their ability to bring creativity into the K-8 classroom setting. Space is extremely limited; please register by June 14th at

Imagine This will appeal to K-8 educators, including classroom teachers, arts specialists, and curriculum directors as well as teaching artists of all disciplines. Seminar participants will choose from among 34 sessions providing practical tools educators can apply to their work. Sessions include workshops on topics ranging from “Curriculum Design” to “Theater and Literacy,” as well as hands-on studios in dance, theater, music, visual art and writing. School and community leaders will be particularly interested in workshops like “Building Creative Capital” and “Advocating for Arts Education.” “Stories from the Field” will highlight effective classroom arts experiences implemented by The Right Brain Initiative.

The seminar will also provide national perspective with the following plenary speakers and workshop leaders: Michael Geisen, seventh grade science teacher and National Teacher of the Year 2008, Prineville, Oregon; Russell Granet, associate program director, Center for Arts Education, and theater teaching artist with a focus on special education, New York City; and Alice Kawazoe, education consultant, California Academic Partnership Program, San Francisco Bay Area. Also presenting will be The Right Brain Initiative’s professional development partner Deborah Brzoska, a teaching artist from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Right Brain’s evaluation partner Dennie Palmer Wolf, principal with research and consulting firm WolfBrown in Cambridge, MA. Kim Stafford, nationally recognized poet and director of the Northwest Writing Institute, Lewis & Clark College, will provide the closing address.

Through professional development for teachers and artists, The Right Brain Initiative boosts the ability of the region’s educators to provide high quality arts experiences, furthering the program’s long-term vision to ensure that every single K-8 student in the Portland metropolitan area receives creative learning opportunities.

Featured Speakers and Workshop Leaders

Deborah Brzoska
Deb Brzoska is a national leader in arts education who presents professional development for teachers and teaching artists across the country on behalf of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A former dancer and teacher, she was also the founding principal of the award winning arts-based public school in Vancouver, Washington. In addition to serving on the editorial board of the Teaching Artist Journal, Deb has written about arts education for The Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Project AIM, the Arts Education Partnership and The College Board.

Michael Geisen
National Teacher of the Year 2008, Michael Geisen has been helping students experience science at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, Oregon, for the past nine years. After a year as a full-time spokesperson for education, he still teaches adolescents in rural Oregon, but now also teaches educators, policy-makers, and businesspeople around the world about high quality teaching and learning. His creative and humorous approach has been widely acclaimed for helping people of all ages understand and apply big concepts in education and science.

Russell Granet
Arts Education Resource (AER) founder Russell Granet is an internationally recognized leader with more than 20 years of experience in arts education. He draws on his background as an academic, artist, and teaching artist in his work with cultural institutions, nonprofits, and public and private schools to ensure that all students receive a sequential, quality arts education. Russell founded AER after a decade at The Center for Arts Education (CAE) —The NYC Annenberg Challenge, where he was Director of Professional Development. Since 1995 he has been on the faculty at New York University, where he developed and teaches the course Drama with Special Populations.

Alice Kawazoe
After varied and extensive academic preparation, Alice Kawazoe taught English, mathematics, science, art, and physical education for twenty-two years in public and private schools. She then moved into administration as a high school principal, Director of Curriculum, and Associate Superintendent of Instruction and Assessment. Currently she serves as a consultant to the California Academic Partnership Program, California State University, Office of the Chancellor, and the Stanford Research Network.

Kim Stafford
Kim Stafford, founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose. He holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor, and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools. Kim has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor's Arts Award, and a RACC Artist Fellowship.

Dennie Palmer Wolf
Dennie Palmer Wolf is a principal of WolfBrown, and also serves as Senior Scholar at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. She trained as a researcher at Harvard Project Zero, where she led studies on the early development of artistic and symbolic capacities. She directed Project PACE (Projects in Active Cultural Engagement) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. More recently, Dennie has pioneered evaluation studies that build the capacities of organizations, funders, and the communities they serve.

About The Right Brain Initiative
The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community, which launched its programming in Portland area classrooms in January 2009. The program’s goal is to achieve a measurable impact on learning by integrating the community’s arts and cultural resources into the education of every K-8 student in the Portland metropolitan region’s school districts. The Right Brain Initiative is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, with Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington serving as Implementation Partner. Read more online at

About Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)
RACC is a nonprofit arts services organization serving the Portland metropolitan area, including Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. In addition to serving as the managing partner for The Right Brain Initiative, RACC provides grants for artists, arts organizations, schools and other community-based arts projects; conducts workplace giving program for arts and culture (“Work for Art”) and other advocacy efforts; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance; shares printed and web-based resources for artists; and integrates artwork into public places. Read more online at