Everyday Artist Spotlight: Heidi Burson

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We are so pleased to introduce you to the fantastic Heidi Burson, a Nashville-based singer and songwriter whose powerful, soulful voice will speak directly to your heart.  Heidi has had an impressive career in music. Having released two self-produced, full-length albums and working on her third, she continues to make waves in the industry. Read below to learn more about what drives Heidi’s music, what artist most inspires her and how arts education has impacted her life.  Also, do yourself a favor and watch the videos to hear her stunning voice and spectacular songs and then make plans to catch her live on her current tour!  We promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Why is your art important to you?

My music is the ultimate therapy for my good and bad days. It's a blessing to be able to express myself through music and lyrics that I hope can turn around and help others in the same way.

 

What do you want your art to say? 

Be yourself. Be confident. Choose love. It's okay to have bad days. Treat yourself and love yourself well so you can love others more deeply. Pay attention to the world around you.

 

What project are you working on now?

Touring across the US and abroad at the moment but also working on releasing a new single before the end of 2018 which will lead the way to a new record in 2019. 

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Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite artist first and foremost is Aretha Franklin. She's my go to for musical soul food and inspiration because I believe she means every single thing she sings/writes and I can tell it comes from a place of raw emotion and experience. She's not afraid to tell it like it is and just go for notes most singers would never dream of trying. She's an incredible musician too; singer, pianist, songwriter, composer, arranger. A true talent.

How has arts education impacted your life? 

To the maximum! I'm not even kidding when I say I use things I've learned from my classes and vocal/piano training EVERY DAY being a performer. From an education standpoint I've acquired a well trained ear and appreciation for music I only have as a result of the arts education I was exposed to growing up both at home, in school and at a collegiate level. Teamwork is another one. As an independent artist, 99.9% of the time, the buck stops here but the experience I have from working in choirs, ensembles etc has taught me how to literally "play well with others" and work as a team to deliver a flawless musical product on stage at every show. I also think you learn at an early age in arts education to take pride in your performances and I translate this mindset into every performance whether it's to 500 dressed up people in a fancy theater or 15 folks in a dive bar. 

 

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Biography: 

Heidi Burson’s story as an artist is one of shared human experience. Very early on, she felt the poignancy of the music of performers such as Etta James, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. She was struck by the power and intensity with which they expressed the longing, which we all share, for love and acceptance. These influences, coupled with her own life experiences and a generous dusting of wry humor, have helped to forge a voice and style that is uniquely fascinating. When Heidi sings, people listen. They do so because her delivery is captivating. They do so because she speaks to their own inner feelings. Heidi is a soul singer. "Totally new to us, Burson’s range is something that we will be arriving early to see in person. The deep and somewhat sultry tone that she produces will surely silence most any room that she is performing in. " No Country for New Nashville Magazine "Her on-stage ability to control the room is evident by her captive audience. It’s one thing to be a songwriter and another to be a performer. Heidi Burson is both. Led by Burson's commanding and soulful voice - one with a range that rivals Jill Scott and Adele...The sound is massive; a rich musicality practically oozes off the record." - Kevin Carr with Behind The Set List. To date, Heidi is an award winning artist and songwriter and has released 2 self-produced full length albums, Every Shade of Blue in 2012 and a brand new record, The Story in 2017. Her music is spinning on AcmeRadioLive and Lightning 100 in Nashville and her single, "Give Your Love Away" has been played on BBC Radio. She has recently received song placements on UK playlists for various businesses and is now receiving spins on independent radio stations across the US. She has toured across the US, UK and Europe including a feature at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland to which she'll be returning in 2018 with her own solo show "Soul On Fire." Her touring has seen her perform in various festivals, concert series and notable venues such as the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, the 100 Club in London, BB King's and Ruine Senftenburg Castle in Austria. With relentless drive and some milestone career goals now achieved, Heidi hopes to continue reaching across the world to connect people to each other with the love of good music. As an independent artist with something relevant to say and a better understanding of how to navigate the music industry on her own terms, there is much coming from this one in the years ahead.

 

 

 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Laura Beeman Nugent

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We are so excited to introduce you to a multi-talented Shreveport-based teacher and artist, Laura Beeman Nugent.  Laura teaches high school theatre and film at Loyola College Prep and is an adjunct instructor at Bossier Parish Community College, where she is committed to equipping the next generation of artists with the skills necessary to pursue their creative ambitions. In addition to her teaching roles, she is heavily involved in community theatre and serves as Shreveport Little Theatre’s Director of the Children’s Theatre Academy, Choreographer and Director as well as Director of Summer Camp for the Robinson Film Center.  She truly has a heart and passion for working with children and youth and we were so excited we had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to learn more about her work in the arts and her incredible commitment to kids and her community.  

 

Why is your art important to you?

After touring the United States and Canada with Missoula Children’s Theatre, I realized that I was called to be a children’s theatre practitioner. I feel the arts implemented in a child’s life at a young age can have an enormous impact on their lives. I have seen so many children truly discover themselves and their own passions by being involved in the arts. Knowing that I could be cultivating the next practitioners in my field gives me hope for the sustainability of the arts! 

 

What do you want your art to say?

I want people to understand that educational theatre is about the experience and what students can learn from the process rather than the end product. 

 

What project are you working on now?

Currently, I am working on choreographing a show within our education theatre academy with high school performers and directing and choreographing a show with our elementary and middle school performers.

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Bob Fosse on the set of  Sweet Charity , 1969

Bob Fosse on the set of Sweet Charity, 1969

Personally, I am a huge Bob Fosse fan! I feel that he is a fantastic study for the director/choreographer. As far as theatre educators, I admire both my college mentors Ray Scott Crawford and Cherrie Sciro. Their devotion to higher educational theatre laid the foundation for me to pursue the educational path of theatre. 

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

What started as an interest in middle and high school has ended being my life’s work.  I have been able to do so many things through theatre education, too many to list individually. I think watching children grow through participation has made the greatest impact on my life. 

 

 

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Biography: 

Laura Beeman Nugent, a local actress/director/choreographer, begin working with Shreveport Little Theatre 20 years ago in Dearly Departed (1997) and has considered SLT as one of her theatre homes since that time. While Laura started out as an actress for SLT, she began using her passion and training in dance, becoming the choreographer for SLT in the early 2000s and eventually making her directorial debut at SLT in 2011 with her Master Thesis project Little Shop of Horrors with her theatre partner, Adam Philley. Laura also helped co-found the Shreveport Little Theater Academy in 2007 and has served as choreographer since its inception. In 2011, Laura began her position as Academy Administrator and director/choreographer for the Academy, more recently being named as Academy Artistic Director. She holds her Associate of the Arts degree with a concentration in Theatre from BPCC, a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts with a concentration in Theatre from Louisiana Tech University. She also holds her Master of Liberal Arts with 18 graduate hours in Theatre from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Laura has appeared on many stages throughout the North Louisiana area playing some of her favorite characters including, but not limited to: Amy in Company, Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Matron in Hairspray, Eunice in A Street Car Named Desire, and various characters in Parallel Lives. Educationally, she served as a Tour Actor and Director for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Company, a touring company specializing in theatre for children. She has also been the company choreographer for Canterbury Summer Theatre, near Chicago, as well as a choreographer Bossier Parish Community College and the Performing Arts Center at First United Methodist Church of Shreveport. She cannot fail to mention her mother Carol, husband Clay, and daughter Lorelei for their continued love and support of her passion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Problem with the Hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy

by Jerry Phelps

How does one learn? This is the question that both inspires and plagues teachers. There have been many theories developed to address this dilemma, but teachers know that there isn’t one answer. I remember being in college studying to be a music teacher and having to take some classes in the dreaded “education department.” The music education majors were the outsiders. This was nothing new to us. We spent exorbitant amounts of time in rehearsal and practice rooms and classrooms learning content-specific material. But, all of us reached a point in our studies when we had to make the cross-campus trek to the education building and take a class that addressed education in general.

In one of these classes, the professor was talking to us about the then-recent revisions to Bloom’s Taxonomy in 2001. It was presented as some groundbreaking discovery in education. A few words were changed around, but most of it was the same. The professor was ecstatic to involve us music teacher folks in the conversation because the top section of the pyramid now would read “create.” I was frustrated. My friend, Leslie Cannata Nance and I shared similar concerns about this structure and the blatant hierarchy it communicates. The professor incessantly reminded us that “creating” was the highest form of learning. All I could think of was…

TELL THAT TO AN ELEMENTARY TEACHER WHO JUST WANTS THEIR STUDENTS TO REMEMBER THE LINES AND SPACES OF THE TREBLE CLEF STAFF!

Sure, it is a bit dramatic to make a huge deal of the lines and spaces of the treble clef staff. But, my mind kept swirling with the thought that there is no possible way learning can be hierarchical like this and that I would only be a great teacher if I moved my students beyond the fact recall or “remembering” stage. For music teachers, “remembering” can be an epic accomplishment with our students. How could this possibly mean we haven’t achieved a high level of learning?

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The truth is, I have never found there to be a firmly established hierarchy with learning other than student ownership. I believe that when a student owns the content—that is, they are genuinely curious and ask questions or research to seek more information because of that piqued curiosity. This level of ownership is often rare in classrooms, partly because we are so obsessed with achieving a phantom level within a hierarchical framework. Admittedly, I think the arts and physical education classrooms are places that tend to focus on ownership more than other content areas. For that, I’m proud.

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What would happen if we start viewing this as a wheel? What would happen if we work tirelessly to provide opportunities for students to access the content in a variety of ways? I’ve always understood Bloom’s Taxonomy to be more of a wheel. This is the only way I can make sense of it in practice. I see it as non-hierarchical. I see it as a way to ground teachers in the idea that learning is dynamic and always changing. I see it as a way to acknowledge that some students may never be great at “remembering,” but they may “create” the most beautiful, important pieces of art. This doesn’t inherently make them better at the arts. It simply means they access the content and process it in different ways. 

In a polarized society where most have taken their stance about public education and how schools should and should not function, I suggest that we spend more time, resources, and energy on student ownership. When students sitting in our classrooms realize their voices are important and valid and valued, that’s when the real learning happens. When they achieve a point in their lives where learning becomes worth of their time, we will have succeeded. This learning can happen, at varying points, through any of these elements of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

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Biography:

With more than a decade of classroom teaching experience and a proven track record of arts education program development nationally, Jerry Phelps is a sought-after arts education professional specializing in curriculum design, program design and development, professional development, teacher coaching, and organizational sustainability. In addition to a variety of classroom and private teaching experiences, Phelps most recently served as the Director of Arts Education and eventually the Director of Co-Curricular Programs for Democracy Prep Public Schools. In these positions, he managed and oversaw the development and growth of dozens of school-based arts education programs, national award-winning speech and debate programs, and physical education and athletic programs across the nation. Among his awards and recognition, Phelps was named a quarter finalist by the RECORDING ACADEMY© and THE GRAMMY FOUNDATION© for the inaugural Music Educator Award. As a seasoned singer and performer, Phelps can be seen on stage frequently throughout New York City in a variety of solo shows and one-off performances. Phelps currently serves as the Principal Consultant for the New York City-based arts education consulting firm, CORE Arts Consulting.

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Carman Weathington

"Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression." - Carman Weathington

"Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression." - Carman Weathington

 

We are thrilled to introduce you to the very talented and multifaceted artist, Carman Weathington.  She began making jewelry as a creative outlet and since then has expanded her art to painting, drawing, collaging, sewing and handmade note cards.  She is truly a woman who exudes creativity in everything she does. She intentionally looks for ways to create and express herself through art and that has manifested itself through many interesting mediums.  It was an honor to talk to Ms. Weathington about her art and the inspiration and drive behind her art. We especially loved learning more about how arts education has impacted her life and also the ways in which she is giving back to young artists and arts teachers.  

Wallets by Carman Weathington

Wallets by Carman Weathington

What is your art medium?

Almost everything! (Jewelry, Note Cards, Painting, Drawing, Sewing, Collage)

 

Why is your art important to you?

Wow! It's important because it's actually for me. It's something that inspires me, feeds my spiritual self and gives me an opportunity to express who I am and how I see the world. Also, it allows me to bring beauty to the world. Originally, I started painting to relax and now it really feeds me. If I don't do it for long periods of time I feel the difference in my energy. I think that creating is connected to grounding us and keeping us human and I think when we consume things it can destroy us in small ways. When we don't create anything, we don't have expression in the world. My art is about giving myself a place in the world to express and share myself.

 

What do you want your art to say?

That changes depending on what I'm working on. If I'm doing a series on birds, like I did last winter, it was my way of staying connected to nature.  Through the birds I wanted to portray the serenity and beauty of nature. If I'm working on a series of portraits of women in my community, I want to honor their strength, love, pain, tenacity and power. So, it changes based on what my focus is at the time but all of my art is purposeful.

                                                          Art by Carman Weathington

                                                          Art by Carman Weathington

What project are you working on now?

Actually, I'm working on a series of dogs. I think they are very beautiful animals and they have enhanced our lives in beautiful ways. Also, I think they are funny, lighthearted and loyal and I want to honor the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. That was my inspiration for this series of drawings.

 

Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Who is your favorite artist?

Arthur Wright and Candace Hunter are a couple who live in Chicago and are both artists.  Arthur is an illustrator and does a lot of art on canvas or paper around the rhythm of music. It's really interesting. Candace does a lot of social activism art. Her most recent one was on the lack of water in Africa. She focused on countries that are suffering from water issues.  Another artist I love is Jeff Huntington. He created the mural on the exterior of my studio. He is an incredible, realistic artist. I like artists for various reasons but these are three of my favorite, local artists with very powerful work.

Notecards by Carman Weathington

Notecards by Carman Weathington

How has arts education impacted your life?

As a high school student, I had an art teacher, Mr. Smoot, who was passionate about art. It was one of my favorite classes. I also enjoyed Mr. Paulick, who taught classical music. I remember that I was able to connect art and music together because of these teachers. I could remember a piece of classical music by drawing the rhythm and the sound of the music. These classes made all of the other classes tolerable for me. I wanted to be a clothing designer when I was 18 but walked away from that because a school counselor told me that I wouldn't be able to make a living. She urged me to follow a business path and that's what I did. I didn't come back around to art until the age of 45.

                                   Painting by Carman Weathington

                                   Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression.  It is important to me that I also support other artists. To do this, I mentor young artists and encourage them to pursue their dreams. I will give them space in my studio to show their art. I purchase their art and spend time talking to them about how they can make a living as an artist. Additionally, I've connected with art teachers and have admired the impact that they have on children. So often kids' creativity is squashed and art teachers work in these very restrictive ways. They sometimes have a cart instead of a classroom and yet they still manage to teach a class. I am a huge supporter of art teachers and will often give a portion of my art sales to fund projects that they're working on with their classes.

To find out more about Carman Weathington, visit www.carmanweathington.com

PURCHASE ART BY CARMAN WEATHINGTON HERE!

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Biography:

Carman Weathington is a native Chicagoan whose family roots are in Natchez and Tupelo, Mississippi. She comes from a long line of “seers”, “prophets” and ministers. Born with a “veil” on her face, her mom told her that she was a special child, as the veil was considered to be a good omen; a blessing from God and the ancestors. Although Carman’s family was highly spiritual, education was something that they valued greatly. Carman received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University. However, Carman was always captivated by creativity, healing and counseling others. Carman has always been intuitive and had a “sixth sense” about people, places and things. After being away from the canvas for over 10 years, Carman rediscovered her love for art. In 2012, she fell in love with art all over again after completing a piece that was previously left unfinished and spending an entire summer painting. She describes her artistic process as “spiritually inspired”. Her work is conceptual; as people will interpret and feel myriad emotions when they experience it. Her desire is that her work will be a source of continual spiritual enlightenment, inspiration and healing for herself and all who view it. Carman is an Artist, Life Coach, Illinois Licensed Massage Therapist , Reiki & Reflexology Practitioner, Tarot Reader, and Jewelry and Note Card Designer. Her creativity continues to evolve. Carman plans to expand herself into the area of public speaking and life skills teaching/seminars.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Angela Shultz

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We are beyond pleased to introduce you to an exceptional theatre and cabaret artist, Angela Shultz, who is a triple threat: brilliant singer, stunning actor and accomplished producer! Most recently, she co-founded The Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan, a non-profit theatre that is committed to diversity and social justice.  Angela has done it all and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her some questions to learn more about what inspires and drives her work, what role arts education has played in her life as well as get the inside scoop on what she’s currently cooking up in the arts world.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Music, especially, is the one thing that has been incredibly consistent in my life. I've moved around and relationships come and go, but I've always had an outlet when I sing. Sometimes I can understand what I'm feeling in a more succinct way because another artist has put words and music to those emotions, and I don't know where I'd be without that! How cheesy is that?

 

What do you want your art to say?

Whether I'm singing/acting or producing (which I do more of these days), I love how the arts can give voice to people who are often voiceless. I love to perform characters who say things that are difficult to express. As a producer, I love that we get to share stories of people you don't always encounter face-to-face in real life. I'm also passionate about presenting new work. There are endless numbers of talented people in New York City (and around the world, of course) and some simply need to find an audience.

 

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What project are you working on now?

Stomping Ground Theatre Co. is producing Cover: A Play About Trafficking on March 23-24. It's a compelling play by Joy Powell which is inspired by the work of The Covering House in St. Louis. The plays tells the story of the sex trafficking survivors and the women who helped them.

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Too many to name! I am, of course, a huge fan of my lifelong friend Brett Kristofferson. His musical theatre work is incredibly rich and powerful and is an absolute thrill to sing or experience as audience.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

My early teachers taught me so much about loving music and theatre, but also about how important it is to work hard no matter what you're doing. Arts education taught me how to be independent and figure things out for myself, but it also taught me the value all members of an ensemble bring to a project. It gave me confidence and focus, and a way to understand some parts of the world around me.

 

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Biography:

ANGELA SHULTZ National Tour: Titanic (Alice Beane), NYC Theatre: York Theatre reading – Paris Through the Window (Muse), Assassins (Sara Jane Moore – 5th Floor), Falsettos (Cordelia - Wingspan Arts), The Wasp Woman (Phyllis Futch/reading) and Halloween Hullabaloo (Workshop). Regional credits: Titanic (Alice Beane), Nunset Blvd (Reverend Mother), Closer Than Ever, The Secret Garden (Martha), Company (Marta) Bat Boy (Ruthie/Ned), Nunsense (Rev Mo and Hubert), Godspell (Joanne and Sonia). She is the 2010 recipient of the Hanson Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, as well as a 2012 Nominee for Best Female Vocalist. Angela also directed Hector Coris’ 2010 MAC Award-winning performance in Life is Wonderful. Education: Master’s in Theatre Education (Fontbonne University), Bachelor of Music (Missouri Baptist University). Angela also directed cabaret shows for Jerry Phelps and the recent Off-Off Broadway production of Steel Magnolias. She taught for Professional Performing Arts School in NYC as well as Fontbonne and Missouri Baptist Universities, and Stages St. Louis. Angela is a co-founder of Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan. For more info, please visit www.angelashultz.com