Initiatives and Events

center for paint usf sarasota manatee


Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., June 29-July 4 and July 6-9, 2017

The Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching at USFSM(PAInT)  in partnership with Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) demonstrate the transformative power of teaching science through arts integration at the 50th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Images and video from the most recent festival are available on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival blog. Visitors explore language, engineering, math, science, theatre, and visual arts, using circus vocabulary and applying circus activities to unify their learning discoveries through active demonstrations. Students, parents, and educators participate in 45-minutes inside fun, energetic, and creative learning spaces! They certainly want to do more within an environment of artistic and academic excellence. Lesson topics are: Circus Lingo; The Circus Machine; Calder Activities; The Teeter Board; and The Flying Trapeze.  Participants explore and learn about the works of Alexander Calder, a renowned artist and sculptor, whose explorations of motion in “Calder’s Circus” introduced “mobiles” into his sculptural and pictorial compositions. They analyze Calder’s mobiles to develop an understanding of his artwork and reflect on the culture of his works.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a free 10-day, research-based, educational, living cultural exhibition, organized by the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Attracting more than one million visitors annually and reaching another 40 million through the media, the Festival features a variety of traditions, cultures, peoples, and occupations. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is scheduled so that it always falls during the Fourth of July Holiday and in 2008, the Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s philosophy is to join high-quality scholarship with strong community service and educational outreach. This has led to activities that have affected policies and practices at local, national, and international levels. Programs and products have earned serious scholarly review, popular acclaim, broad media attention, and professional recognition in forms such as Academy, Emmy and Grammy awards. The Center focuses on providing specially-designed marketing programs to meet the needs of sponsors through the well-known Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Global Sound, Cultural Research and Education, Cultural Heritage Policy, the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives, and its signature event – the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

For more information about activities from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, or for additional lesson plans, please contact:

Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD
Coordinator of the Florida Center for PAInT

To learn more about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, check out:

Professional Development

The Florida Center for PAInT seeks to provide and connect faculty, educator preparation candidates and P-12 teachers and administrators with professional development opportunities that foster their ability to effectively integrate the arts across the curriculum. From workshops with teaching artists, to guest lectures and special events, the Center helps develop the ability of educators at all levels to explore arts integration as a means to transform teaching and learning.



JUNE 22-24, 2017, DAYTONA, BEACH, FL                          

Arts-Integrated Teaching: PAInT, Circus Science, and the Magic of Puppets

Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, Coordinator, FL Center for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) at USFSM
Larry Engler, Poko Puppets
Karen Bell, Circus Arts Conservatory

The powerful form of discourse arts-integrated teaching is demonstrated through collaborative partnerships.  Davis-Cotton, Engler, Bell and Eurich present outcome-based arts-integrated instructional practices provided by the Florida Center for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT). The session includes how PAInT forms partnerships with local schools, professional artists, cultural and university institutions to offer professional development and strategy trainings. Participants are fascinated by the explorations of constructing the creative art of puppet making and bringing puppets to life! They also learn how to make simple machines through the wonders of circus science. PAInT is a Statewide Center at USFSM that provides a collaborative university/community infrastructure for developing partnerships that support arts-integrated teaching.

Field Experience Projects

Collaboration, Arts-Integration and the Common Core (CAICC) – This project, funded by the Manatee Community Foundation [] connects classroom teachers, preservice teachers, school-based art teachers, and teaching artists in a professional learning community. The goal of the program is to support in-service and preservice teachers’ development of quality instruction that teaches content of the Common Core State Standards in, with, and through the arts.

Project MAESTRO (Making Arts-Integrated Education Sustainable Through Relationships with the Opera) – School of Education Candidates, working with a faculty mentor, go behind the scenes at the Sarasota Opera during rehearsals for one of their productions.  They attend select rehearsals and meet with the artistic and production staff members to explore how the opera company puts together a professional production.  The goal is to help candidates make connections between the activities of opera staff, such as planning, design, assessment and professional development, and those of educators in P-12 school settings.

Summer Arts-Integrated Literacy (SAIL) Program 2015 –There is excitement in the air at Booker Middle School! The incoming 6th graders of Booker Middle School are involved in the Summer Bridge transition camp, and USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) teacher candidates are “sailing” in to assist. Undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates are tutoring children enrolled in the camp through a Summer Arts-Integrated Literacy (SAIL) program. The program was initiated by United Way Suncoast (UWS) as part of their campaign to break the cycle of generational poverty. UWS, in collaboration with the School of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee and its Center for Partnerships in Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT), developed the program to support children who are at risk for summer reading achievement loss while providing teacher candidates opportunities work with diverse student populations. Through SAIL, children participate in an arts-integrated literacy program using social studies concepts and themes. USFSM tutors teach the middle school students how to read portraits (arts content) and how to use strategies specific to reading information-based text. Children use both these strategies in a study of the history surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation (social studies content). Children also study words, extending their vocabulary knowledge and word-analysis skills. In a summer 2014 pilot of SAIL, the program was a success: not any of the participating children regressed in their reading and teacher candidates gained an invaluable experience. This summer, six (6) School of Education students are tutoring 23 middle school students during eight (8) weeks of the transition camp. The SAIL project is an asset to our community, providing additional professional development of tomorrow’s teachers and direct support of children.

Early Arts Guided Learning Experiences (EAGLE):

This project will prepare a team of eight Pre-K teachers and four USFSM pre-service teach candidates (PAInT Scholars) to integrate the arts into lessons and assessment that align with Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for 4-year olds (2011). G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School, a Title I school with a Pre-K Program Hub, has been selected as the site for the project. Two USFSM faculty members and the MCSD Director of Early Learning will work with the pre-service teachers, Pre-K teachers and supervisors, and two arts specialist/teaching artist to enhance the readiness of these students to succeed first in the Pre-Kindergarten environment, and then in the K-5 program in their elementary schools. The in-service teachers, pre-service teachers (PAInT Scholars), and faculty members, supported by an arts educator/teaching artist will engage in collaborative professional development. USFSM faculty will also extend opportunities for school faculty to participate in select session of university coursework that support the concepts and skills being developed as part of the project. The evaluation of the project implementation will yield recommendations for systematically expanding and extending the model to the K-5 program in successive academic years.

Elevate with Arts Integration:

The Sarasota County Schools, through Any Given Child Sarasota, have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to receive a $1.2 million grant over four years to implement an initiative entitled Elevate with Arts Integration, also known as Project Elevate.  This project aims to increase students’ academic performance in reading, writing, math and science through arts-integrated instruction at four Title I elementary schools in the Sarasota County School District.  Funds will help second-through fifth-grade teachers at those schools gain proficiency in developing and providing arts-integrated instruction.

Through Project Elevate, Any Given Child Sarasota will hire a full-time, experienced arts integration specialist beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.  The specialist will provide coaching, training and mentorship in creating and teaching arts-integrated lesson plans at each of the four Title I schools selected for the program.  In total, more than 16 classroom and arts teachers, as well as additional pre-service interns, will benefit from the program in its first year alone.

Arts-focused charter schools

The Center for PAInT provides outreach to charter and non-public schools who seek to better understand and implement integration of the arts into their teaching and learning environments.  A faculty liaison meets regularly with school leaders to assess their needs and to facilitate connections to the School of Education and Center for PAInT initiatives and special events.