Siegel Humanities Academy Inspires Creativity and Community Through Humanities Week

Siegel Humanities Academy recently organized its first-ever Humanities Week, which was packed with activities that challenged students to think outside the box, be creative, communicate their ideas, and bond as a community. The academy started last year in collaboration with Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Liberal Arts to introduce students to diverse job opportunities available to people in the humanities. The academy aims to develop essential skills that are in high demand today, including creativity, communication, critical thinking, and community.

The Humanities Week kicked off with “Wonders of Van Gogh,” a Teacher’s Discovery Traveling Exhibit featuring reproductions of the work of the renowned painter Vincent van Gogh. Siegel art teacher Brian Pounders led a “Lunch and Learn” session, using the exhibit as his backdrop, to discuss the impact of art on our culture. Tennessee Performing Arts Center visiting artist/educator Alison Brazil also participated, discussing the power of language and music to cross barriers and encouraging the students to write lyrics for an original Siegel Humanities Academy song.

Later in the week, students watched an independent film on artificial intelligence at The Belcourt Theater in Nashville and visited the Frist Art Museum. The students ended the week by connecting with a school in Uganda via Zoom and singing with their choir. The students felt that Humanities Week made them part of a diverse community working towards a bigger goal of bringing people together to learn about how to make a difference.

The Siegel Humanities Academy and MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts partnership send an essential message to students and the community that the liberal arts do more than touch our souls; they prepare students with the essential skills for creating an informed, adaptable, and compassionate society. The academy aims to develop problem-framers who are open to promoting new ideas and bringing people from different viewpoints together. The Humanities Week was an excellent opportunity for the academy students to learn about different communities, have fun, and experience new things outside of the classroom.