Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 11:00 to 6:00

Summer Teacher Institute

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2018 Summer Teacher Institute. Notification of acceptance for 2018 will be made by e-mail by the end of April 2018.

Please check back at the beginning of January for the 2019 application, which will be due March 30, 2019. 

Thank you for your interest.

The Teacher Institute is a six-day seminar that helps K–12 teachers of all subjects integrate visual art with classroom teaching. The program features in-gallery art activities, modeling of teaching strategies, storytelling through Web-based technologies, and other forms of experiential learning.

About the 2018 Institute

The 2018 Teacher Institute will focus on storytelling and the visual arts.  Until the 20th century, art was largely narrative. Whether their subjects were religious, mythological, or literary, paintings and sculptures were often vehicles for stories, and effective storytelling has always used rich visual metaphors for immediate, sensory effects. Stories are how we learn. Rooted in ancient cultures, storytelling has transmitted knowledge and values from one generation to the next. Stories allow us to share our experiences and build a sense of community. Cognitive research even suggests that learning follows a narrative structure, and that we retain information in story-like units.

This six-day seminar will explore the connection between storytelling and learning and demonstrate how teachers can use art objects with storytelling activities in the classroom. The first half of the program will explore ways that works of art can be used as prompts for oral, written, and performance-based storytelling. During the last three days, teachers will take part in an intensive hands-on tutorial in which they tell their own personal stories about art by creating short digital movies. With the help of coaches, teachers will write, edit, and create their short story through a process of script writing, storyboarding, working with digital images, and recording voice-over narration. Participants will be asked to prepare for their digital story by framing its narrative and visual content in advance. (For information on script duration, number of images, and use of video clips, see digital story preparation below.)

Electronic narratives allow many of the traditional elements of storytelling to be seamlessly integrated—the visual and the verbal, the kinesthetic and auditory. They incorporate a range of tasks that allow educators to address multiple learning styles within a single project. In the classroom, digital stories can be used in a range of disciplines and are well suited to cross-curricular applications. They offer the advantages of an experiential approach to learning while combining oral and alphabetic literacies with those intrinsic to today’s multimedia. Digital storytelling is learner-centered in the best way imaginable, as it asks us to make meaning out of experience we deem significant.

The program will:

  • demonstrate that storytelling is important in humanistic terms: it encourages empathy through the process of listening and sharing with others, while strengthening social and emotional learning;
  • model successful storytelling through different teaching methodologies and in-gallery activities that use art objects for inspiration;
  • introduce storytelling in visual, written, and performance-based forms, and help teachers understand the potential for teaching and learning through different modalities—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile;
  • reveal how storytelling suits a constructivist approach to learning, since tales are created out of an individual’s own knowledge, experience, dreams, and ambitions; and
  • demonstrate the cross-curricular potential of storytelling, which builds the critical thinking and problem-solving skills 21st-century students require.

Program Sessions
Two six-day sessions will be held at the Gallery. Each session will accommodate 25 participants. Applicants should indicate their session preference and keep both weeks open until registration is finalized.

Applicants should plan to attend the entire program, which takes place Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Activities may be scheduled off-site and in the evening hours.

Session 1: July 9–14, 2018

Session 2: July 23–28, 2018

Program Fees and Resources
The fee is $200 per person and covers the cost of instruction, books, and other program resources. All participants must bring a laptop computer (either Mac or PC) for use in digital storytelling. (For more information see digital story preparation below.)

Selection Criteria
Participants will be selected through an application process (see below). Selection will be based on an individual’s or team’s statement of purpose. Administrators (principals, supervisors, or curriculum specialists) will be given special consideration. To encourage national representation, efforts will be made to enroll candidates from each of the following five regions: 

  1. Northwest and Alaska
  2. Southwest and Hawaii
  3. Midwest
  4. Northeast
  5. Southeast

All fellowships offer stipends of $2,000 and waive the enrollment fee. The stipend is intended to contribute to travel and program-related expenses. Applicants must meet the selection criteria for the program, identify the funding sources for which they wish to be considered, and briefly explain the classroom outcomes they anticipate. Selection of fellows will be based on merit rather than financial need. Consideration will focus on the individual's or the team's statement of purpose, the topic's connection to curriculum or students' needs, and anticipated teaching outcomes.

Educators of any discipline who are currently employed within a public, private, or parochial school system, K–12, are eligible for funding. Fellowship opportunities are listed below.

  • Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship: open to all K–12 educators who teach in the United States or its territories
  • Sara Shallenberger Brown Fund: open to all K–12 educators who teach in Kentucky

Successful fellowship candidates will be paid upon completion of the program and submission of a two-page report summarizing how they will apply their experience at the Institute to daily teaching or administrative work.

Transportation and Housing
Participants will be responsible for their own transportation and housing. A list of suggested housing options will be provided upon admission, but participants should feel free to explore alternatives.

Application Process
The 2018 aplication period has closed. The 2019 application will be available in early January. Applications will be due online by March 30, 2019.

Educators may apply as individuals or as teams of two. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose explaining why they would like to attend the Institute. The statement should include ways the applicant(s) will incorporate the subject matter into their classroom studies. Applicants must also submit a plan for how they intend to share the Institute experience with their students and colleagues upon completion of the program. Applicants applying as teams should reference one another by full name in their statement of purpose.

Participants will be notified of their acceptance in April 2018. If accepted, applicants will have until approximately April 30, 2018, to confirm their participation.

Questions about this program should be directed to [email protected]. When contacting the Gallery, please provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can be reached.

Digital Story Preparation
Participants will be asked to prepare their digital story by framing its narrative and visual content in advance. The digital storytelling process will be coached by Joe Lambert and staff from StoryCenter (based in Berkeley, CA), as well as Gallery educators and technology specialists. At the end of the session teachers will be given a copy of Lambert’s book Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, which should facilitate taking this teaching and learning practice back to the classroom.

Each participant's digital story should be focused on a personal experience with art and illustrated with digital images of art objects that help narrate your tale. Stories might combine personal reflection on specific artworks chosen with insight into their significance for you. Some of the most effective stories use objects possessing profound personal meaning for the narrator. Another approach would be to tell a personal story through art, letting objects visualize your tale more abstractly—through their subject matter or formal elements like shape, color, line, texture, and contrasts of light and shade. The "Search the Collection" feature on the Gallery's website may help locate art objects appropriate to your story. Exemplary digital stories (personal narratives, not about art) can be found at

Each digital story should be planned according to the following guidelines. Prior to the start of the program, additional preparation resources will be available on these topics:

Arrive with a draft script. Since your digital story will be three to five minutes long, your final script should be no more than 250 words.

Images and Videos
Bring photographs, artwork, letters, or other items to scan. Bring about 20 to 30 images and choose 10 to 12 of these as your primary images. Photographs that are 1280 x 720 at 72 pixels per inch or greater will offer you a quality video output. If using older images, scan images ahead of time and bring them on your personal laptop computer with backup copies on a removable hard drive. Images should be scanned at 300 dpi. For digital images downloaded from the internet, a good rule of thumb is to use images whose height and width combined is at least 800 pixels.

Video should be previewed with notes about which five-to-fifteen-second clips are desired for the story. Since video uses a lot of memory, it should be used sparingly. Please bring at least a two-gigabyte removable hard drive and your favorite pair of headphones (earbuds are fine).
There is a wide range of options for licensed and royalty-free music downloads.


The 2018 Teacher Institute is supported by generous gifts from the Park Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Fund, the PaineWebber Endowment, and the Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship.


Questions about this program should be directed to [email protected]. When contacting the Gallery, please provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can best be reached.