Study Units

Woman dancing with students

Teaching Artist-Led ArtSmart Study Unit Example


  • A warm-up with students moving around the space that alternately gives them limiting, complicated instructions on their movements and then unrestricted choice in how they want to move.
  • A discussion on the control and freedom in the warm-up they just had and in other settings they know: school, home, public spaces.
  • A transition that examines the control needed in puppetry, especially marionettes.
  • A project with students creating basic scenes in pairs: one student a puppet without control and another the puppeteer with complete control.
  • An adjustment in the scene: each puppet gets one moment of control. What would they do or say?
  • The responses to watching scenes, as classmates are asked to notice aspects of the scene, to pose questions they wonder about, and to make connections between the scenes they created and examples of control and freedom in other subjects: history, civics, literature, science.


  • The powerful experience for students attending the ArtSmart Focus Work of Art, a performance based on the original novel, Pinocchio, by a renowned international theatre company.
  • The insights from watching the little puppet as he becomes real and learns the joys and pitfalls of freedom.
  • The rich correlations educators can make to the curriculum with their students after the performance.

Prepare for an ArtSmart Study Unit

Check the ArtSmart Study Unit calendars on our ArtSmart Focus Works page or our Forms page.

Read the ArtSmart Policies PDF for participation guidelines.

Recruit a group of teachers from your school and contact us at TPAC Education and Community.


Additional information for teachers – an ArtSmart Study Unit:

Teaching artist visits are free to Davidson and bordering county schools. Further surrounding counties pay a flat fee to offset mileage costs for the teaching artist.

Watching student movement
Photo by Mimosa Arts
Woman and boy examining puppet
Photo by Mimosa Arts