Isthmus puts Halverson’s podcast in the spotlight

Isthmus put Erica Halverson’s new podcast, “Arts Educators Save the World,” in the spotlight recently in a story that is headlined, “An apple (podcast) for the teacher.”

Erica Halverson

In the podcast, artists alongside their teachers and mentors talk with Halverson, a professor and chair in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, about how those collaborations made them who they are today. The first episode, which aired on Aug. 29, features Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of “Hamilton,” and Robert Lopez, co-writer of songs from “The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q,” and “Frozen,” with their elementary school music teacher Barbara Ames.

Lopez and Halverson were classmates at Hunter College Elementary School in New York City, where Ames taught them music, notes the Isthmus story. Miranda is also an alumnus of the school and had Ames as his teacher five years later.

Halverson recalls the first episode came together easily. “There’s nothing more precious than having a conversation with somebody who’s changed your life,” she says of her famous guests. “It doesn’t take a lot of coaxing because people want to do this.”

Halverson tells Isthmus that her ultimate goal is to foster an ongoing discussion about the arts in education among educators and the broader public.

“I am trained as a theater artist and live performance is my primary medium of expression,” she explains. “But live performance is local and fleeting and I wanted something that would stretch the experience across space and time. Interest, exposure and conversation are important, and I needed something with staying power and that continued them.”

The podcast is now up to nine episodes — the latest of which features “Saturday Night Live’s” Cecily Strong in conversation with her CalArts acting teacher, Mary Lou Rosato — and more are to come.

“My hope is pretty grand,” Halverson says. “I want to create and foster a robust national public dialogue about the role arts education plays in helping us all become more human.”

To learn more, check out the full story in Isthmus, or listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify.

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