The Artists in Schools (AIS) Program is supported by the State of Alaska and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional funding from the Rasmuson Foundation. Fairbanks Arts manages the program on behalf of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School district by working with teaching artists and pairing artists with schools for several weeks of artistic residency. AIS residencies are active studies that span traditional and contemporary art forms.
AIS residencies provide hands-on arts experiences and training for students, teachers, and the greater community. Lessons shared by teaching artists in residence augment the arts curriculum and the Alaska State Content Standards for Art and connect to other core curricula. AIS residencies include professional development opportunities for teachers to integrate the residency discipline into future teachings and create engagement between the school and the community.
Maïté Agopian’s residency at Lathrop High School through mid-October is an interdisciplinary endeavor across the art, engineering, and music departments. Through Maïté’s guidance during her residency, puppets of all sizes are being crafted by students, which will be featured in the FNSBSD production of Shrek: The Musical, in January of 2024. While art students and students from around the school have joined in on crafting paper-mâché or foam puppets, engineering classes are at work problem-solving how they can make some of the puppet’s come to life. In creating everything from small rats to a nearly ceiling-sized dragon, the musical’s production team, the art department, and the engineering department are in communication about how to create objects that will play their part on stage.
“I am a puppeteer artist with a MA in Humanities and extended experience in informal education and science outreach. I use shadow puppetry theater to promote self confidence and problem solving while exploring a variety of art concepts, media, and technical mechanisms (STEAM), different cultural traditions (Social Science), and the art of storytelling (Literacy) and performance skills (Collaboration, Respect and Confidence skills).”
Puppetry (including Shadow Puppetry, Marionette, Rod and Hand Puppets)Website: chakpuppetry.org