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Muse Machine Institute equips teachers to turn STEM into STEAM

The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg (Chapman Cultural Center) was awarded a $17,000 Education and Community Partnership grant (ECP) through the South Carolina Arts Commission's Arts in Education program. The grant will help fund professional performances in Spartanburg County schools as part of the Muse Machine program. The Muse Machine STEAM Institute (taking place June 23-27) equips teachers to integrate arts education in the classroom. From the Chapman Cultural Center:

[caption id="attachment_13072" align="alignright" width="204"]ABC Project Director Christine Fisher presents at Muse Machine Institute ABC Project Director Christine Fisher presents at Muse Machine Institute[/caption] While most of the country’s educators are rightly focused on ramping up the hard sciences in the classroom, another faction of educators is looking for ways to enhance the high tech teachings with creativity. At the urging of the national business community that is looking to fill science-based jobs, primary education has embraced a philosophy of STEM—Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While there is widespread agreement on the necessity of STEM, most employers believe that for a complete educational experience and preparation for a qualified workforce, art must also have a place in the curriculum, thus adding “Art/Design” into the acronym equation: STEAM. Toward that goal, a group of teachers from South Carolina schools is focusing on the incorporation of the arts into student curriculum this summer in the annual Muse Machine STEAM Summer Teachers Institute, presented in Spartanburg by Chapman Cultural Center, Milliken & Company, and USC Upstate. The Institute is a graduate-level course for K–12 classroom teachers on how creativity fuels critical problem–solving skills. “We’ve presented the Muse Machine Institute for many years,” said Ava Hughes, arts education director for Chapman Cultural Center. “Every year, we focus on a different, but arts-related, concept. The whole idea is to equip teachers with something new they can use in their classrooms to inspire new ways of learning by connecting students to STEM theory with the arts. This year, we’ll focus on the most current developments of STEAM." Taking place June 23-27 at the Chapman Cultural Center and USC Upstate's The George Dean Johnson School of Business, the three-credit course is taught by Dr. Mary Lou Hightower, associate professor of Art Education at USC Upstate. Participants will hear from guest presenters such as Kennedy Center Teaching Artist John Bertles of New York, retired engineer and master kite maker Chuck Holmes of Spartanburg, and others. In addition, participants will tour the Innovation Gallery and Research Center at Milliken in Spartanburg. "STEM is a national educational movement focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but like all stems, we feel it's only the beginning," Hughes said. "For children's minds to truly blossom, Art/Design is needed. That's how we get STEAM." Supporters of STEAM note that added creativity develops students' ability to adapt in a changing world, view problems from different perspectives, work in a teams, and generate new solutions. In a 2010 report by IBM, more than 1,500 CEOs noted that, given the ever-changing nature of the world around us, "creativity trumps other leadership characteristics" in forming an innovative workforce. “Every day Milliken’s community of innovators is invigorated by the challenge of finding new and creative ways to enhance people’s lives and make the world around us easier, safer, more sustainable, and more beautiful,” said Richard Dillard, director of public affairs for Milliken. “Our approach to innovation through unique insights, deep science, and meaningful design is a good fit with the objectives of the STEAM Institute.” "The Muse Machine STEAM Institute is about equipping our teachers with the power of STEAM to creatively fuel our students' futures, regardless of the careers they pursue," Hughes said. Primarily, Muse Machine is a program through which Spartanburg County schools receive three professional performances each year in music, theatre, or dance. The performances are informal and often interactive, acquainting students with a particular genre or art form. In addition to in-school shows, Muse Machine provides valuable tools to teachers on integrating arts education in the classroom. The STEAM Institute is one of these tools, and since its founding in 1994 has served more than 850 South Carolina teachers. The Muse Machine STEAM Institute is made possible by the generous support of Milliken & Company, and is one of the summer courses approved by the S.C. Department of Education through the ABC (Arts in Basic Curriculum) Program. Chapman Cultural Center education programs are made possible by support from Milliken & Company, BMW, Duke Energy, J M Smith Foundation, SunTrust Bank, Target, QT, TD Charitable Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, South Carolina Arts Commission, and Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program. For more information on the Muse Machine STEAM Institute, contact Ava Hughes at (864) 278-9693 or aHughes@SpartanArts.org.

Milliken & Co. honored nationally as a business supporting the arts

Milliken & Company, headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., has been recognized by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, as one of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America for 2014. Every year, Americans for the Arts, through the Business Committee for the Arts, recognizes 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships and board membership. “I am once again pleased to celebrate such an impressive array of BCA 10 honorees that span business size, industry and geographic locations,” says Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Each year, the BCA 10 sets the standard for other businesses by upholding the arts as an integral part of office culture, the community and the local economy. Through financial and in-kind support, employee volunteer hours and workplace arts initiatives, these businesses ensure arts access for current and future generations, in addition to serving as successful and inspiring models of business arts support.” Milliken’s commitment to the arts spans its entire history, stemming from a corporate culture that cares about and respects its associates, its customers, its communities and the world. Complementing a heritage of support for the arts, the Milliken corporate campus abounds with artwork in the form of notable sculptures, paintings, murals, mosaics and fountains which enhance the creative spirit and inspire innovation. “Communities with thriving arts programs are proven to exude stronger and more vibrant cultures - and dare to ‘do good’ for the world,” states Joe Salley, president and CEO, Milliken & Company. “The arts open our minds to the seemingly impossible and help us think with fresh perspectives, which is what our nearly 7,000 associates worldwide do every day to bring the Milliken spirit of innovation to life. It is their dedicated efforts that make this recognition possible.” The advancement of the arts profoundly impacts every industry that Milliken serves. It fosters creativity and encourages not only artists, but others who are inspired to challenge how far they can push their talents - whether it is through architecture and interior design, chemical research, product design, material fabrication or building infrastructure. Milliken also works to advance the arts and arts education within particular industries. In the architecture and design community, Milliken is a strong advocate of passionate design educators and is a proud sponsor of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Educator of the Year Award. "It was a privilege to nominate Milliken & Company for its decades of unwavering support, and now it is extremely exciting to celebrate this well-deserved national recognition!” said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center/The Arts Partnership. "This award not only recognizes the company's loyal and very generous financial support, but also its extraordinary partnership in developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Mathematics) education programs. Milliken’s contributions inspire a deeper partnership with the arts - one that encourages innovation in integrating arts and science in education and hands-on partnerships with Milliken associates, who share real ways to engage and excite students in careers in art, design and science." The BCA 10 Awards will be held on October 1, 2014, at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City. Other 2014 BCA 10 honorees are AC Entertainment (Knoxville, TN); Arts Brookfield (New York, NY); BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc. (Birmingham, AL); Brooks Resources Corporation (Bend, OR); Classical Movements, Inc. (Alexandria, VA); Edward Jones (St. Louis, MO); Hallmark Cards (Kansas City, MO); PECO Energy Company (Philadelphia, PA); Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (Appleton, WI). In addition, Frederic C. Hamilton, chairman of The Hamilton Companies (Denver, CO) and chairman emeritus of the Denver Art Museum will receive the 2014 BCA Leadership Award and Deere & Company (Moline, IL) will be inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame. About Milliken Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering, and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Our community of innovators has developed one of the largest collections of patents held by a private company. With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemical, floor covering, and performance materials, we work around the world every day to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety, and help make this world more sustainable. For more information, visit www.milliken.com. About Americans for the Arts Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.