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Kimberly Crislip Jarvis Headshot

Kimberly Crislip Jarvis: Cultivating Connections and Arts Learning for All Ages Through the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster

Since 2019, the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster has helped foster connections and partnerships between teaching artists, organizations, and school districts across the state. It continues to expand each year, with new teaching artists from urban and rural communities being accepted to join and take advantage of this resource. 

Kimberly Crislip Jarvis—a roster member since 2019—is a teaching artist, choreographer, and consultant residing in Medina County. She’s enjoyed the many valuable professional development opportunities offered to roster members. Additionally, Crislip Jarvis, who also leads the Buckeye Book Fair as its executive director, has been able to cultivate new teaching residency relationships since joining the roster.  

We recently asked Crislip Jarvis about her experiences as a roster member. Read about them, along with her advice for creating a great application, below.  

Interested in applying to join the roster? Find more information about current application deadlines at oac.ohio.gov/Resources/Ohio-Teaching-Artist-Roster.  

The Ohio Teaching Artist Roster is a partnership between the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Alliance for Arts EducationOhioDance, and Art Possible Ohio

 

Ohio Arts Council (OAC): What motivated you to apply to join the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster? 

Kimberly Crislip Jarvis (KCJ): I was motivated to apply to join the Ohio Teaching Roster for two reasons. The first was my desire to share my experiences with other students, and the second was to share them with other teachers.  

As a young person, I had difficulties in school.  I understood my teachers but could not communicate that through regular testing protocols.  While I attended weekly speech therapy, it wasn’t until fifth grade that I started dance lessons that I had a breakthrough.  From then on, I integrated movement into my academic studies. My teachers thought I became very fidgety and laughed at my almost cheerleading style of learning, but they didn’t have a problem with it because my grades soared.   

By studying dance in college and learning more about neuroscience, I was able to hack the education system early on and start visiting schools as a guest artist.  I absolutely adore showing teachers and students that they too can dance. Dance is not only an entertaining art form. It is processing, sequencing, observation, discovery, and universal communication. 

The Ohio Teaching Artist Roster was a way to partner with school administrators, teachers, and students to share these techniques. Many of my techniques are now scientifically proven and welcome in the classroom. I viewed the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster as a partnering opportunity for the teachers who were inspired to have me visit their school. 

  

OAC: How can a teaching artist showcase their best self in their application? 

KCJ: The Ohio Teaching Artist Roster application allows opportunities for artists to spotlight the accomplishments they’ve achieved while working with students. Artists can show their best selves by revealing their victories in the arts. Collecting permission slips and data from all teaching engagements can be cumbersome, but it’s important.   

The power of the arts is enormous, and teaching artists believe this, and they are devoted to it, so it’s best to let those experiences speak for themselves. By sharing enthusiastic stories where a student had an “aha” moment, including photos and videos of teachers and students enjoying the material, and disclosing the number of students, schools, and teachers an artist works with—the application reviewers will be able to understand the effectiveness of the work.  

Something that has worked well for me is to be generous with business cards and ask people to send me their stories, as I am usually immersed in the teaching experience and forget all about photos. By sharing my contact information, I get to hear about the ripple effect of the workshop, camp, class, or activity. 

 

OAC: What professional development opportunities have you taken advantage of through this resource? 

KCJ: I’ve enjoyed taking advantage of the professional development opportunities through the Ohio Arts Council and partnering organizations. I would easily continue going to school for the rest of my life, and I enjoy gaining access to webinars and conferences and participating in unique training.  

Organizations like Art Possible Ohio, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA), Lifetime Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and OhioDance have bolstered my vocabulary and provided a network of friends and colleagues. The content of the online meetings for professional development among teaching artist cohorts has been invaluable for affirming assessment practices, verifying accessibility opportunities for my students, and endorsing the ways I practice sensitivity, universal design, and other educational methods. Together, we share professional tips and enhance our artistry.   

  

OAC: What would you say to a colleague interested in applying for the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster? 

KCJ: If an artist is interested in applying for the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster, I would encourage them. Classroom teachers, librarians, and administrators are looking for passionate artists who will be professional and generous with their talent so Ohioans can be strengthened through the arts.  

Being on the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster is a form of validation and advertising that teaching artists need. Most artists are sole proprietors or sole member LLC business owners, but they lead with their heart and soul to share their art form with people who need it. This roster aids artists from becoming isolated or discouraged.  

If an artist applies and is selected to be on the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster, they will join a current of scheduled activities that are inspiring, convenient, and profitable.  They gain the ability to direct interested parties toward annual grant opportunities. This current moves artists and communities forward to the future.  A future with more good art stuff.  We need that! 

  

OAC: What are some of the highlights and successes from your work with Ashland City Schools, Buckeye Book Fair, and Creative Aging? 

KCJ: Since joining the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster, I’ve enjoyed inspiring new communities. I launched a few new endeavors this year: a creative aging workshop and an after-school program. Each one brought huge dividends for the love of dance. 

The Dancing From the Inside-Out Workshop was formed after I engaged in the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative. The workshop was at the Wayne County Public Library in partnership with the Buckeye Book Fair, and included participants aged 55 and older.  The curious men and women shared songs and meaningful stories, then discovered together how to form them into sequences and phrases for choreography. A moment that strikes me as incredible was when the granddaughter of Adrian, 92, presented her grandmother with flowers.  She had no idea that her grandmother could dance, let alone bring forward a form of oral tradition by formatting the story into dance. They brought tears to the eyes of the audience and Adrian's message, which was danced to a song called “The Happy Wanderer,” went even deeper into their hearts. 

Another amazing moment was when students from the after-school dance program at Ashland City Schools were presented with their License to Dance at the end of their performance. They looked shocked to hear that they were not only allowed to dance anytime and anywhere, but that they were charged with the responsibility to use their dance groove to spread the love of dance to others.  They were certifiably ready to call people to “take a chance and dance.”  

My very favorite thing in life is teaching pedestrian dance. I love helping others realize that dance has a very broad definition. It is not reserved for entertainment alone. Dancing is everything from deep primitive storytelling and expression all the way to fitness and wellness. I’m grateful to the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster for helping me reach students of every age. Just as science has proven that having more birthdays is good for longevity…so is it with dance. The longer you move the longer you live. 

Article by Andrew Paa, communications strategist
Photos courtesy of the teaching artist.



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