Educator Profile: Travis Newton
We believe that the arts are essential to the quality of life and community in Central New York. Our mission to promote, support and celebrate arts and culture is the heart of all our programs and services.
We strive to connect with students at every level of education, from elementary schools to colleges and also with educators and administrators to build a culturally engaged community. Arts education is a key component of several of our programs: Dasher's Magical Gift, Michael Harms Theatre Festival, DeFrancisco Young Artists Scholarship Program, STAR Training Program (Support for Teaching Artist Regional Training), and the AiHE Consortium (Arts in Higher Education). These programs, help ensure that arts education is given full support it deserves in central New York.
So in celebrating Arts Education Week, we would like to recognize some of the many people in our community who are dedicated to enriching the lives of students at all stages of their education.
Thank you to Americans for the Arts for hosting this national celebration of arts education, and thank you to all the educators who impact lives every day through the arts. We hope you enjoy learning about a few of our local educators and reflect on how teachers have influenced your own life. #BecauseOfArtsEd #ArtsEdWeek.
Today CNY Arts would like to recognize Travis Newton assistant professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Le Moyne College. He is also very active in the Arts in Higher Education Consortium, a CNY Arts ENGAGE CNY program. Learn more about the Arts in Higher Education Consortium.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your current role in arts education?
My name is Travis Newton and I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Le Moyne College. I also direct our Arts Administration program, which includes an undergraduate minor, a Master of Science, and a Graduate Certificate. In addition to teaching courses in Arts Administration, I also conduct the Le Moyne College Chamber Orchestra.
2. What drew you to education?
Honestly, at first it wasn't a conscious choice. However, in Arts Administration, I've found a way to combine my passion for working in the arts industry with teaching - so I get to experience the best of both worlds!
3. How do you think arts education can help students address current issues in our society?
I'm going to answer a slightly different question - why arts education is important. In the arts, there are no deadline extensions. Our work is very public, and we constantly receive feedback from our audiences, attendees, and colleagues. This type of experience is transferable to all fields of study, at a time when employers, and society, value hard work, discipline, dedication, and yes, creativity. In the arts, we teach all of these things.
4. What is one way in which you keep your personal artistic practice fresh outside of the classroom?
I frequently perform with Symphoria, both as a violinist and guest conductor, and I regularly conduct as part of the Syracuse International Film Festival, as well as our student orchestra at Le Moyne College.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring young student interested in furthering his or her artistic career?
Work hard, be early, and be open to opportunities. Don't be afraid to try new things, even if you're afraid you'll fail. For me, fear of failure has accompanied every single valuable professional opportunity I've had.
6. As part of National Arts in Education Week, we'd love it if you could share one story about how arts education has personally impacted your life.
It's really difficult to think of just one story, because my arts teachers as a kid were so influential. Growing up in southeastern North Carolina, arts opportunities were not plentiful. One story that comes to mind is that my mother initiated the string education program in my county through a letter-writing campaign to the superintendent of schools. At the time, there was no string music instruction in the county, and now there are programs in six buildings across the county. This is a great example of parents and community members being successful advocates and making a difference in countless lives. #BecauseOfArtsEd.