Annual Integrated Learning Conference:

Arts In Your Classroom

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 8:30AM - 4PM


VENUE: Historic Villa

Service fees may apply and are non-refundable.
Montalvo donor discounts are offered on select events; donors, please Log In to access special ticket prices. Box Office is open one hour prior to all show times.

Arts In Your Classroom
Photo: Gege Xu


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Now in its 18th year, Arts in Your Classroom is an engaging symposium exploring current topics related to integrated learning and intended for artists, educators, administrators, and members of the community interested in better understanding where arts and creative practice enhance professional and personal development.

Through the lens of different creative practices and pedagogical techniques, we will further examine our institutional investigation on Social: Rethinking Loneliness Together, and how this topic pertains to the educational sphere.

At the forefront of these relevant needs across our community, artists, educators, and community organizers will explore and weave together conversations around loneliness as an epidemic, forming meaningful connections, and developing self-fulfillment capacities. Our day will begin with an opening plenary session followed by hands-on, experiential workshops that delve into concepts around personal identity, authentic relationships, community building, and implications of social media on our collective health and wellness. 

Continuing education credits will be available for those who attend. 


In Defense of Human Connection, with Ivan Cash

As our phones keep us eternally occupied, as online shopping and self-checkout keep us existentially apart, as news and media keep us stuck in divisive rhetoric, and as fear tactics keep us believing “thou shall not talk to strangers,” it’s clear we are living in a time of unprecedented loneliness, distraction, and division.

So what would a world where everyone actually felt connected to each other look like? What would it take for more people to look up and simply talk to one another? And how might art, design, and creativity play a role in this? 

Drawing on his experience as a Forbes 30 Under 30 artist, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur, Ivan Cash argues that re-learning the lost art of human connection is our best chance at saving both our sanity and society. This talk offers creative inspiration, including Cash’s work inspiring strangers from 153 countries to draw each other and transforming 30,000 emails into handwritten letters, as well as concrete action plans for overcoming our stranger-danger, digital-first culture. Because human connection, asserts Cash, is the most revolutionary action we can take.

About Ivan Cash

Ivan Cash is an award-winning artist, filmmaker, and founder of Cash Studios and IRL Labs. His work celebrates the human spirit, exploring themes of connection and belonging in the 21st century.

His conceptually-driven, genre-bending media projects spark meaningful conversation and impact culture, having been featured in The New York Times, CNN, TIME, The Guardian, Fast Company, Buzzfeed, and The Atlantic, and having received multiple Vimeo Staff Picks and Webby Honors.

He has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 artist, Adweek Creative 100, an Art Directors Club Young Gun, and a Print New Visual Artist. His work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and has exhibited internationally. Recently, he was inducted into the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, becoming one of 10 members responsible for selecting all USPS postal stamps.

He believes talking to strangers can change the world, but nothing would make him happier than if you closed your eyes for 20 seconds and just listened to your breath.

Workshop Sessions

When registering, please choose one A.M. and one P.M. workshop session.

1) Building Safe Spaces for Authentic Connections

This theatre-based workshop provides participants with integrated exercises that focus on building safe spaces to share our personal stories. Through movement, voice work, acting and ensemble work, we discover what we can do to help develop the empathy, sense of safety, and trust needed to foster authentic exchanges and deeper connections. We will also explore concepts around the stories we choose to share and how we can expand our skills around meaningful communication.

Presenter: Naya Chang

Naya Chang has appeared in over 10 plays and was awarded Best Actress from 2017 Grizzly Film Festival. She was invited by Esplanade, Singapore and the National Theater and Concert Hall in Taiwan to create performances for Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes. She has worked on operas, concerts, and theatre productions internationally. Passionate in education, Naya has taught students from kindergarten to grad school as well as coaching adults. Naya is familiar with The California Arts Standards for Theatre and has developed several curriculums focused on social emotional wellness, effective communication and confident body and voice. 

2) Selfless Portraits

Art can help us open up and connect with other people in ways that transcend language while expressing essential qualities about ourselves and others, helping us define our own identities as humans and artists, and connect more deeply with the people around us.

Taking inspiration from Ivan Cash’s Selfless Portraits project, we will delve into one-on-one conversations that foster a genuine, honest look at one another. Sharing stories, experiences, and inspirations, we will use this understanding to create a “selfless” portrait of a stranger made known. In reclaiming impersonal social media space to make it personal, participants will explore visual arts expressions to represent the authentic representational portrait of another.  

Selfless Portraits was a collaborative art project developed by our keynote speaker, Ivan Cash, where strangers across the world drew each other's Facebook profile pics. Over 50,000 drawings were submitted from 153 countries during the project's 3-year span.

Presenter: Katie Simpson

Katie Simpson is a visual artist who primarily works with drawing, painting and printmaking. She is also a Teaching Artist working to bring exciting visual art experiences into a variety of underserved public schools, and has taught art in many situations to many age groups. Katie is a nature enthusiast with an MFA in Studio Art from the City College of New York, and a BA in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking from Portland State University. For decades her artwork has focused on a variety of aspects of the natural world, most recently involving plants and the landscape. She just finished a local pocket wildflower guide-zine, with block printed illustrations, just in time for awesome spring hikes.

3) Five Simple Strategies for Developing Social Media Literacy

How do we foster a dialogue of belonging in an age of online communication? In this interactive workshop, we will dive into five Visible Thinking Routines developed by Harvard’s Project Zero that provide simple structures for generative conversations that support critical thinking, collaborative communication, and perspective taking. Using these strategies and more, we will separate evidence from claims, generate research questions, make cross-media connections, and develop empathy. We will identify how these strategies are key to social media literacy as well as address Common Core English Language Arts Anchor Standards. Together, we will practice using the routines in a variety of activities and identify how to make these thinking routines work for us and our particular learning communities.

Presenter: Indi McCasey

Indi McCasey (they/them) believes in the power of creative practice to catalyze communities and foster social change. Indi has spent the past 15 years working at the intersection of arts, education, and community health for the purpose of social justice and racial equity with the organizations Destiny Arts Center, Solace, Streetside Stories, Urbano, and Wise Fool New Mexico. They hold an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and served as an Artist in Residence at Harvard's Project Zero. Indi's social practice is rooted in their experience as a teaching artist, performer, program administrator, and arts advocate. Currently, Indi facilitates professional learning communities of local, national, and international educators and thought leaders through the Alameda County Office of Education's Integrated Learning Specialist Program, Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom, Oakland Unified Arts Partners, and Oakland Unified School District.

4) Teens, Mental Health, and Suicide Awareness

One in Five teens and young adults live with a diagnosable mental health condition, yet 64.1% aren't receiving treatment. Why is this a common experience and what can we as educators do about it? In the hectic pace of work and life, understanding the warning signs and key language can not only connect a young person to resource/support, we can create a safe stigma-free community where issues and conversations about mental health and suicide are not only common, but embraced and supported. In this workshop you'll learn the common signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, how to interact with youth in crisis, and when to 'tag in outside resources. The workshop is based on adult learning principles and highly participatory.

Presenter: Dawn Brown

Dawn Brown is a certified mental health first aid trainer, a national keynote speaker, and a mental health advocacy coach. She serves as the Team Lead for the Santa Clara County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness' FaithNet program, which provides mental health education, training, and resource support to colleges/universities and pastors/faith leaders in the 23 cities in the county.

5) Connecting People Through Collective Action

Join us for an exploration on the role of healing centered arts practices in movement building for collective liberation. Young people of color bear the burden of multiple health and social inequities, which includes a lack of authentic self-representation in dominant culture. Taking inspiration from poster making, this workshop will help build empathy and brave space, as well as bring us together through a creative process of art interconnectivity. We will work collectively to create a visual call to action to impact, shift and change culture; elevating awareness of a common goal to inspire others. By literally masking intersections of our identities, we peel away systems of oppression revealing our true authentic selves.

Presenter: Quynh-Mai Nguyen

For over 8 years, Quynh-Mai Nguyen (she/her) has been deeply involved as an artist, advocate, and community organizer within arts, culture, and social justice. She is passionate about creating access and awareness through event programming, visual storytelling, media, and social art for the stories of womxn, people of color, and communities whose narratives go unnoticed. In 2018, Quynh-Mai was named "KQED Arts Bay Brilliant" for her cultural work along with other notable cultural workers in the Bay Area. She is from San Jose and holds a Bachelors of Science in Advertising (creative track) and a minor in Graphic Design from San Jose State University, and is also an alumni of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, a network of arts leaders and arts administrators of color.

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