Kennedy Partners in Education

Kennedy Partners in Education

The Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is designed to assist arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation to develop and/or expand educational partnerships with their local school systems. The purpose of the partnerships is the establishment or expansion of professional development programs in the arts for all teachers. 

The program, established in 1991, is based on the concept that educating teachers is an essential component of any effort designed to increase the artistic literacy of young people. The Kennedy Center’s experience with professional development programs for teachers is the basis for this national initiative. Partnership teams consist of an arts organization and an administrator of the cooperating school system. The team participates in an institute that provides models and strategies for professional development programs in the arts for all teachers, follow-up consultation and annual meetings to assist teams in their continued development. The Lied Center is one of 99 U.S. Partnership teams that are located in 46 out of 50 states. 

For more information contact Nancy Engen-Wedin by phone, 402.472.4707 or by email, nengenwedin2@unl.edu

CHARLES AHOVISSI

Teaching Artist

Charles Ahovissiis a professional dancer, performer, choreographer, stage costume designer and tailor from Benin, West Africa. He is an approved teaching and performing artist working with the Nebraska and Iowa Arts Councils. Charles Ahovissi participated in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Seminar," Planning Effective Arts-Integrated Residencies for Students."Charles is also artistic director of African Culture Connection, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide African culture and art experiences to the public, to encourage an appreciate for the richness diversity brings to all. Since 1986, Charles has toured throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States as a member of the Ballet National of Benin, performing and teaching traditional African dance and drumming. He is an American citizen based in Omaha, Nebraska.

For more information about Charles Ahovissi or African Culture Connection, please contact:

Email: info@africancultureconnection.org

Phone: 402.556.5143

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WENDY JANE BANTAM

Teaching Artist

Wendy Jane Bantam works internationally as a musician, storyteller, painter, and teaching artist. She lectures on creativity and critical thinking.  Her lectures are found on TEDx and IGNITE! Wendy holds a MFA in painting and is an Artist-in-the-Schools-and-Communities with the Nebraska Arts Council, the Lied Center for Performing Arts and lecturer on Arts Integration Learning for the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences.  She trained with the Peace Corps and served AmeriCorps through Washington D.C. by creating public art projects to bridge communities and fight poverty.

Wendy partners internationally with artists, teachers, communities, and schools to bring creative curriculum and interdisciplinary arts experience to the forefront. Combining storytelling with visual art, she engages communities by helping guide them in the story of their identity(ies) through the verbal and written word. Wendy assists teachers and students in turning their story into a creation of visual art using paint, textiles, or clay. These projects can be expanded upon by partnering with other classroom teachers and teaching artists (music, poetry, and movement). Final pieces are then presented in schools and communities through permanent installations or culminating events of music, art, and storytelling.

For more information about Wendy Jane Bantam, please contact:

Email: wendybantam@gmail.com

Phone: 308.222.0242

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DANIEL MARTINEZ

Teaching Artist

Daniel Martinez --- Flamenco guitar wizard, composer, and teacher --- hails from Iquitos, Peru. Growing up surrounded by the ocean and the Amazon, Daniel first picked up the guitar as a young teen at the encouragement of his mother. He quickly discovered his natural talent for playing by ear and followed the natural path of a teenage boy pushing the boundaries. It wasn’t until he moved to the United States and enrolled at Union College in Lincoln in 2002 to study English as a Second Language that he started to take his music seriously. Daniel honed his skills through the mastery of classical guitar training and preparing for and winning national guitar competitions. Daniel has performed in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, and across the United States. Today, four solo instrumental recordings later, he is a sought-after instructor of all styles of guitar for all ages as well as being a familiar presence on stages in the region. Daniel is a touring and teaching artist through the Nebraska Arts Council and Lied Center for Performing Arts.

For more information about Daniel Martinez, please contact:

Email: daniel@danielmartinezmusic.com

Phone: 402.499.6111

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LIZ SHEA-MCCOY

Teaching Artist

Liz Shea-McCoy earned her BS in Education and MA in Textile Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Liz is a professional/exhibiting artist and has been published and recognized on local, regional, and national levels in a variety of media (textile design, printmaking, photography, painting, collage, and assemblage techniques). Liz has a rich teaching background, including nearly 30 years of service with the Nebraska Arts Council as an Artist-in-Residence and visual teaching artist with the Nebraska Rural Teaching Artist Initiative, a program of the Lied Center for Performing Arts. She uses her extensive experience in printmaking and, as a teaching artist, encourages students to use their imaginations to think more abstractly to create their own one-of-a-kind symbol that reflects their creative individuality.  By looking at primitive and contemporary symbols, she hopes to engage all students to reflect on themselves or their environment, and ultimately create their own piece of nonverbal communication.

Liz has directed many community public arts projects:  Tour de Lincoln (Lincoln, NE, 2003), Star Art:  Star City Art Project (Lincoln, NE, 2006), aCross Lincoln (Lincoln, NE, 2008), An Enchanted Arboretum (Nebraska City, 2013), Illuminating Lincoln: Lighthouse (Lincoln, NE, 2015), Nebraska by Heart (Lincoln, NE), 2017 and Serving Hands (Lincoln, NE, 2019).

For more information about Liz Shea-McCoy, please contact:

Email: lizwshea@gmail.com

Phone: 402.430.5923

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OSCAR RIOS POHIRIETH

Teaching Artist

Oscar Rios Pohirieth is a professional musician and has performed throughout Mexico, the United States and Europe. With over 30 years of experience, he specializes in the music of the Andes. Oscar is also a traveling and teaching artist through the Nebraska Arts Council and Humanities Nebraska. Oscar has also worked as a teaching artist with the Lied Center for Performing Arts for the past 10 years.

Oscar is inspired by the music of the Andes and Central and South America where he grew up. Oscar helps students learn about South American instruments --- that many have never seen or heard before. He analyzes the history, development and playing techniques of various Native Andean instruments such as the Zampoñas (Andean Pan Pipes), the Quena (a recorder-like flute) and the Bombo (drum from African influence) to name a few. Through this process, Oscar hopes to inspire curiosity, creativity, cooperation, and collaboration to explore new music and culture.

For more information about Oscar Rios Pohirieth, please contact:

Email: opohir@gmail.com

Phone: 402.304.4512

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TRACI SCHACHT

Teaching Artist

Traci Schacht is a performance poet and storyteller currently living in Council Bluffs, IA. She is employed by the Nebraska Writers Collective, where she is a Coach for Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB), Nebraska’s high school slam poetry program. She also serves as the core teaching artist, overseeing LTAB’s middle school program. Traci is a teaching artist with the Nebraska Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud where she visits schools around the state coaching students in performance of classic and modern poets’ work. A former foster youth, she enjoys working with Project Everlast’s poetry program for youth aging out of foster care. As an above knee amputee and burn survivor, much of her work is centered around positive body image and healing using raw and humorous writing. Traci graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent time teaching in Oakland, CA. She is the winner of the 2018 Omaha Entertainment Arts Award for best performance poet and can be found performing at venues throughout the region.

For more information about Traci Schacht, please contact:

Email: redontherocks@gmail.com

Phone: 402.838.9648

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RENEE SANS SOUCI

Teaching Artist

With a degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and being an UmoNhoN woman and practitioner of traditional healing, Renee Sans Souci combines her life experiences with a learning process that helps learners to engage in their own cultural identities and languages. Renee has been a Teaching Artist with the Lied Center for Performing Arts since 2009. She has presented at numerous conferences and workshops on various topics related to Native Science, History of Indian Education, Native languages, Poetry, and Sustainability. Sans Souci’s most recent presentation was at the National Portrait Gallery, Native American Women Activists: Resistance, Resilience, and Passing the Torch.

An example of Sans Souci's work is a lesson called "The Beauty of the Elements and the Sun" designed for students in grades K-4 emphasizing our connections to the natural world. The lesson includes a story or poem, a small round stone, a feather, sage, cedar, sweet grass, and a twig. The message extended to each child is one of forming relationships with the natural world and with each other. We are all related.

For more information about Renee Sans Souci, please contact:

Email: renee_sans_souci@hotmail.com

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MICHAEL (MIKE) WOLFE

Teaching Artist

Mike Wolfe resides in Lincoln, NE and is a newly enrolled member of the Northern Ponca Tribe of Nebraska (since 2018). Mike grew up on the Omaha Reservation where he learned his Umonhon cultural ways, graduating from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a degree in Education. Mike began work in schools in 1986 as a para educator with the Omaha Nation Schools. Since then he has worked in a variety of educational settings where he shares his culture, language, and artistic skills; he has developed and taught learning experiences/curriculum that incorporates culturally relevant and age appropriate lessons. He has also worked with social service agencies across the state, including the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, The Indian Center, etc. In these roles, Mike has been a Cultural Practitioner teaching American Indian Life Skills, providing American Indian youth with knowledge, skills and the tools needed for continued personal development, to overcome obstacles and succeed at home and in school. Mike is also trained in evidence–based/practice-based teaching with a focus on cultural competence. His lessons lift up all people, primarily American Indian youth, by emphasizing the importance of holding onto one’s cultural identity, while maintaining both dignity and worth.

For more information about Mike, please contact:

Email: brotherwolf57@gmail.com

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