ArtsEd Washington is pleased to introduce Bruce Hall and welcome him as our new Program Director.  Bruce previously served as the Director of Education for Giant Magnet (formerly the Seattle International Children’s Festival), a non-profit organization that presents global arts performances to the Puget Sound region.

Bruce has a wide array of arts experience (you can often catch him as host of Annex Theatre’s monthly cabaret), as well as a background in education – having previously served in Seattle Public Schools as a middle school language arts and social studies teacher.  A graduate of Antioch University in Seattle, he holds a masters degree in education. In his new role as Program Manager, Bruce will oversee and manage our Principal’s Arts Leadership Program, working closely with our partners, members, and communities across the state to advance our arts initiatives.

We asked Bruce to talk with us about his passion for arts education and the Program Director position:

1.  What inspires your passion around arts education?

My passion for arts education is inspired by my own upbringing including my involvement with band, drama, and other artistic experiences. The sense of community is what I remember and cherish most from those years. Sparking kids’ interests and enhancing lives are the things I went into education to do. When I became a teacher, I found that by incorporating theater and creativity in my teaching, the kids not only developed a stronger connection to school, but they were engaged in the lessons, enjoyed learning, and gained a deeper understanding of concepts.

2.  What excites you about ArtsEd Washington?

My first day with the organization was also the first meeting of the year for the Principal Arts Leadership Program (PAL) at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. I am thrilled to be in the position to oversee this incredible program! Some of the things that excited me were:

  • Meeting and beginning to work with the principals and their assembled arts teams from schools from around the Puget Sound.
  • Hearing PAL alums and mentors describe the transformation that took place at their schools.
  • Having the teams who are starting the program envision what they want for their students and their schools through more robust arts education.

3.  What do you hope to bring to the position and the organization?

I hope that my experience as a former teacher will bring valuable perspectives to the mission of ArtsEd Washington. Having worked in the classroom, I understand the workload and expectations and appreciate some of the challenges to making the arts an integral part of the school day. It is important to have this perspective in order to work in partnership with principals and teachers.

4.  How does your involvement in the local arts community motivate your work?

In the 90’s, I moved to Seattle for the vibrant theater scene. As an audience member and a practitioner, it has been a constant part of my life. That personal experience with art- feeling empathy, gaining understanding, being entertained – thanks to the arts community here in Seattle – motivates my work and passion for the arts and arts education. My personal passions impact my professional life, and in my work I am dedicated to the pursuit of fostering more experiences with art in our communities, as well as ensuring that the arts are provided to students as part of a core component of their school day curriculum.

5.  Why do you think arts education is important to students?

When students participate in the arts at school, they are not only more engaged in their learning, their minds are opening through multiple channels. Through arts education students are developing in their critical thinking, creativity, and innovation – skills and attributes that cannot be replicated through other experiences.

Bruce Hall is the new Program Director for ArtsEd Washington. He lives in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, WA. His passion for arts education is rooted in his background as both a teacher and theater artist.  Bruce is also a youth advisor at University Unitarian Church and a longtime member of Annex Theatre. He enjoys board games, playing the piano and making and eating guacamole.

Share your inspirational arts education or arts advocacy story! Where have you see the arts change outcomes for a student? How has your personal engagement made a difference in a policy or budget issue? What arts teacher changed your life? Let us know. Your submission may be selected for a future Take 5 member profile.