What is LOLA Doing to Support Arts in Education?

In July 2010, the U.S. House of Representative passed House Resolution #275, designating the second week of September National Arts Education Week.  To celebrate, LOLA shared a personal story each day of the week on our Facebook about the importance of arts in education.  (Click here to read more if you missed our stories!)  The stories came from artists, writers, teachers, friends of LOLA, and others who have been impacted by arts in education.  This got us to thinking, supporting arts in education matters all year long – not just during National Arts in Education Week.  So we took some time to reflect and asked ourselves,

What is LOLA doing to support arts in education?


  • We bring vital arts education resources to local schools.

LOL Elementary students participate in a Shakespeare Workshop.

LOLA has conducted theater, art, and poetry classes for Land O’ Lakes elementary school and SOAR Charter School, providing students supplementary arts education to what they already received in their school’s curriculum.

LOLA has also established a partnership with the Watersmeet School.  The school was struggling to find a certified art teacher, leaving students lacking in their arts education. LOLA saw a need that had to be filled and stepped up to the challenge to bring special arts programming to the school as well as host classes at our Creative Campus. Watersmeet superintendent Gerald Pease acknowledged our partnership as “a wonderful opportunity” and stated he appreciated that LOLA offered this to the district because “it is going to give our students a greater exposure to all the arts which we couldn’t give them.”  LOLA is in the process of working with Watersmeet School to establish the schedule and curriculum for the 2018 school year.

  • We maintain partnerships to provide more diverse arts education.

Summit Players Shakespeare Group and LOLA participants perform on the LOLA Deck

LOLA continues to work with The Summit Players Shakespeare Group to facilitate theater workshops at local schools and on LOLA’s Creative Campus.  In spring, LOLA brought the Summit Players to the Watersmeet School to present a theater workshops for 1st-6th grade students. LOLA Programming Director Wendy Powalisz came back to LOLA with encouraging accounts of student success.  Students who had previously struggled with academic engagement were actively participating in the workshop and young people were excitedly (and accurately) interpreting period language.

  • We provide arts education for home school students.

Home school students working on illustrating stories with Amy Laundrie.

LOLA has been providing arts education for home school students since LOLA’s inception in 2008.  Painting, drawing, 3-d work with wire, clay, and creating art using recycled materials are a few examples of classes LOLA has offered home school students. Classes have focused on specific artists, masters as well as contemporary, including Matisse, O’Keefe, Chihuly, Monet, and Van Gogh.  Students also learn about techniques and materials, the principles of art, elements of design, the color wheel, and art from other cultures.  Class starts with a discussion on the artist, culture, materials or the principle or element with visual aids and samples.  Next, the teacher gives a demonstration of the project and a safety lesson before proceeding. Then, on to the project with the teacher assisting throughout the process but not impeding the individual expression or each student.  Each class ends with students explaining their finished project and then receiving critiques from the other students.

  • We incorporated STEAM classes as part of LOLA’s 2017 Summer Programming (Science & Technology, interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, based in Mathematical elements)

Students creating bird silhouettes.

This summer LOLA offered “Where Art and Science Meet,” a 3-class series, taught by retired environmental science teacher, Carol Mason.  Carol led three classes that combined art with science and math.   Each class culminated with an art project that students could take home with them.  “Beauty of Trees” included lessons on tree biology and mathematical symmetry and ended with students creating kirigami trees.  (Kirigami is a form of paper art in which the paper is folded and cut to create the final product.)  “Birds and Silhouettes” included instruction on bird identification, classification, and anatomy.  Students used this knowledge to create specific bird silhouettes out of paper.  “Going Batty” featured information on the bat anatomy and characteristics, the benefits of bats, and myths that surround them.  Students then created a bat mobile and Chinese bat design.  When designing her classes, Carol stated she hoped the series would “provide participants with a more in-depth understanding of the beauty and art in science and the natural world around us.”

  • We offer arts education opportunities all year long, with special emphasis on youth programming during the summer months.

Artist Rita Kickert shows young LOLA student how to use a pottery wheel.

Providing arts opportunities outside of school, especially during the summer time, can help fill the gap at a time in the school year when it may be more challenging for students to access arts education opportunities.  According to Arts Ed Search, an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality research studies on the impacts of arts education and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice, “students of all ages who participate in out-of-school arts education exhibit higher academic achievement as measured by grades, IQ, standardized test scores, and high graduation rates.”

  • We create A special gallery exhibit for Youth Art Month.

2017 YAM Display in the Artistree Gallery.

Every March, LOLA celebrates Youth Art Month by framing and exhibiting over 100 works of 2-D and 3-D art created by Land O’ Lakes Elementary, SOAR, and home school students.  For a two-week period, the artwork is displayed in a public gallery setting (thanks to our neighbors at the Artistree Gallery) showcasing the hard work and creativity of each student.  Taking the time to display the work of these young artists shows them that their artwork is valued and important.  In fact, according to The Art of Education (AOE) , an innovative higher learning institution focused on professional development for art educators, “for students lacking self-esteem, putting up work with peers can boost academic and artistic confidence.”

The young artists also participate in a critique of their work by a professional artist.  This allows students to practice receiving constructive feedback on their work as well as gives them a glimpse of what it may be like pursue an artistic career.  But don’t just take our word for it, here is some of the feedback LOLA received from Youth Art Month artists the following the 2017 exhibit:

“Thank you for all of the time you took to come and talk us!”

“Thank you for showing the amazing art.  I had a really, really good time!”

“Thank you for all the work you have done for us!”

“Thank you fro displaying my art in the art show to be critiqued by a real artist.”

“Thank you for putting my painting in a frame.”

“We are very appreciative  to have artists come to view our  artwork and give us advice!”

  • We continue to seek unique arts opportunities for our programming from all areas of the fine arts, including dance.

2017 Youth Dance Program Recital

Every summer LOLA offers a Youth Dance Program and Line Dancing for adults with professional dance instructors.  Started by UW-Whitewater and Associate Professor of Dance and Theater Barbara Grubel, 2017 marks the 7th year of LOLA dance programming.   According to the National Dance Education Organization – NDEO, “only 7 % of elementary school students and 13% of enrolled high school students have the opportunity to study dance education during school hours as a part of the regular school curriculum.”

What can YOU do?

  • Share your story on social media!


This is your chance to tell your own personal story of the transformative power of the arts in education on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!  Add the #ArtsEdWeek #BecauseofArtsEd to your post to be a part of the 2017 visibility campaign.  Make sure to tag LOLA on Facebook, @Land O’ Lakes Arts – LOLA so we can read your story!

If you are not sure what to say, think about this:

– How has arts education had a positive impact on your life?

– What are you doing now in work and/or life that is the result of your arts education?

  • Did you have an experience during your arts education that affected you?  Maybe teacher who gave you the courage to pursue an artistic career?  Or a moment as a teacher that you saw a student succeed or be inspired?

-Why is arts education so important?

– Finish the sentence “Because of arts education…”

  • Engage in your own arts education by taking a class!

Basket weaving class at LOLA.


Explore our calendar and find an arts class or cultural event that interests you.  Or check out the offerings from one of the other arts organizations in the Northwoods.


  • Make a donation!

Click here to donate to LOLA.  Your donation will help us continue to provide a variety of arts education opportunities for all ages, all year long.  As a non-profit, LOLA depends on pledges, donations, grants, participation at fund raisers, and class attendance to fund our arts education programming.  These funds help LOLA to acquire supplies for classes and hire diverse, skilled instructors to teach our students.  With your support, LOLA can remain a reliable source of arts education for Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

As our mission states, “LOLA is dedicated to promoting the arts in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. LOLA will support local artists in fulfilling their artistic potential while also bringing enrichment, arts education and beautification to the people of the area, which contributes to the vitality of the larger community.”

Support LOLA and support arts in education!