2015-16 Big Picture Fellows

The Big Picture offers a yearlong fellowship to educators interested in developing their skills and understanding of art integration. We’re thrilled to introduce this year’s teams of educators who were selected this summer. In their own words, they describe where and what they teach and answer one of the following questions:

  • Why are the arts essential to what you teach?
  • What do you hope to get out of the fellowship?
  • What is your favorite work of art from the NCMA collection, and why?

Erin Gannon

unnamedSince 1997, I have served as a classroom teacher in grades two through five. For the first 15 years of my career, I worked primarily in charter schools in Southern California, specializing in inquiry and Project Based Learning. I currently teach at a local STEM school and am a member of the WCPSS Teacher Leader Corps. As a National Faculty member for Buck Institute for Education, I facilitate PBL workshops for teachers of grades K-12 across the United States. I am currently a third grade teacher at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh.

My favorite work of art at NCMA is Askew, one of the sculptures found on the grounds just outside the museum. Though sculpture isn’t generally the kind of art that moves me, I am always very drawn to this piece. With the varied weather here in Raleigh, the tree seems to be ever changing. I love that it is, all at once, both powerful and delicate; imposing and inviting.

Elissa Walker

headshot (1)

I am a third grade teacher at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh. I graduated from UNCW in 2013 and moved back to the city I proudly call home. I have loved to doodle, paint, and draw since I was a kid so I consider myself lucky that I am able incorporate it into my career as a teacher! 

My favorite piece of art from the NCMA collection is Rabble. I just love all of the colors and the subtle transition from flowers to butterflies. I find myself gazing upwards every time I visit the museum! 


Beth Rhyne

photo (4)I currently teach Physical Science at Cleveland High School.  I have been teaching Science for 26 years, 12 years in high school and 14 years in middle school.  The art I have used in my classes up to this point has all been student generated and related to class projects.  Usually in the form of illustrating a scientific principle we are studying in class.

I never considered using specific art to illustrate the principles or generate ideas for student work.  I am hoping that through Big Picture I will be able to introduce topics and art work that my students may otherwise not be exposed.


Gail Clougherty

IMG_1466I teach Earth/ Environmental Science at Cleveland High School in Clayton. I use many forms of art in my science classes because it helps students to make deeper connections. The art makes them look closely and think about the details. These are skills that make them better scientists. This fellowship is helping me learn new ways to integrate art and science.



Lisa Schnitzler & Cheri Williams

IMG_8852 (1)My name is Lisa Schnitzler(left) and I teach visual art at Williston Middle School in Wilmington, N.C. I think my favorite piece of work at the museum is Thomas Hart Benton’s painting, Spring on the Missouri. Every time I see it I am so sucked in to the action and color in the piece. The light and movement are amazing, and having spent many years in the mid west, it reminds me of the folks I met out there and their practical nature. The painting can go in either of two directions-is the storm coming, or is it leaving? I wish the museum could acquire another of his works!

My name is Cheri Williams(right) and I teach math at Williston Middle School in Wilmington,  NC. Through the Big Picture fellowship,  I hope to gain a better understanding of art integration in the middle  school math classroom and how arts integration can build understanding and encourage engagement in my class. As a math teacher,  I have always been drawn to M.C.Escher’s art, so this year’s Big Picture fellowship worked perfectly into my ideal collaborative opportunity with my teammate and art teacher,  Lisa Schnitzler.

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