The Batesville Area Arts Council announces a new executive director, Melissa Moenter effective July 15, 2023. Melissa has previously served as the vice president on the BAAC board and is currently serving as president. She replaces Sarah Heppner, who is retiring from the director position after 8 years.
On her 8 years as Executive Director for BAAC, Heppner reflected, "Being the director of the Batesville Area Arts Council (BAAC) has been an amazing highlight of my life. I am grateful to have been a part of an organization that has impacted both my professional life as a teacher in the Batesville School Corporation and in my family's life where my children benefited from BAAC's programs, leading two of them into arts-related careers. Witnessing the true inner workings of an organization that prioritizes the importance of the arts in our schools and community while collaborating with many other important local organizations, has been an honor. I am excited for Melissa to take the reins and continue BAAC's growth. Her experience, work ethic, and love for the arts will make her an excellent director."
Incoming board President Paul Satchwill added, “The board is ecstatic to welcome Melissa Moenter to the role of BAAC Executive Director. Melissa has served the board in a variety of ways that have equipped her to take on this new role. Her vision and heart will serve the board greatly in our mission to foster a love for the arts and provide art experiences in our community. Sarah Heppner has been a tremendous Director for 8 years, and her dedication to the council will make for a successful transition.”
Moenter is married to Jon Moenter, design engineer at Baxter and has two daughters, Katie (13) and Lily (11), both students at BCSC. She expressed her enthusiasm to serve BAAC and the community in her new role. “We moved to Batesville nearly 9 years ago with Hillrom. While it's much smaller than other places I've lived, the town has so much to offer with all the perks of small-town living. Many of the wonderful events, experiences, and activities in Batesville are thanks to the work of volunteers-- people with big hearts and passion for their organizations. That's what led me to the BAAC. I got involved with Peter Pan in 2018, and I've been serving on the Arts Council in some capacity ever since. BAAC's impact on our community is immediately evident in all six area schools, the array of artwork downtown, and the additions to our community calendar. As my year of serving as BAAC President winds down, I am excited to continue supporting this organization in a new way. Sarah has done such a great job as Executive Director these past eight years, and I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful predecessor.”
Updated: May 26
Wow! After the original blog post was published, we received reports of even more artists in all our schools bringing the grand total to TWENTY FOUR(!!) very talented artists/educators engaging with students across many disciplines in all six area schools this spring semester. In addition to those mentioned below, OA also incorporated a tie-dye project into their field day with the help of a textile artist, and teacher Travis Smith was able to incorporate a song-writing project into his 7th grade BMS Social Studies classes. Jump to the bottom to see the newly added arts experiences.
The schools are funded by Batesville Area Arts Council's Arts in Education (AIE) program and decide how to integrate the arts into their individual curriculum. The students experience a unique arts perspective in their traditional core classes and/or their arts electives. “An arts education helps build academic skills and increase academic performance, while also providing alternative opportunities to reward the skills of children who learn differently.” -Gavin Newsom
Continue reading to learn about the visiting artists/educators and see how these professionals brought new and unique learning opportunities to Batesville and Oldenburg.
January 12, 2023 OA
Nat Chaitkin, Bach and Boombox
Nat Chaitkin visited the freshmen Go Beyond music class at Oldenburg Academy to present a program called "Bach and Boombox". Nat's ideas showed students that both Bach and modern music use small ideas that are put together, repeated, and transformed to make up the very basis of music itself. Students enjoyed a mix of concert, discussion, and question/answer sessions throughout Nat's visit. Previously a cellist with "President’s Own” U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra, Nat now teaches at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) and plays with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in addition to various nonprofit ventures in music. You can learn more about Nat at BachAndBoombox.com.
February 7, 2023 BPS and BIS
David Fisher, Rope Warrior
Rope Warrior, David Fisher performed at the BHS gym to an audience of students from the primary and intermediate schools. David shared his passion for jump roping and explained how this activity is a great cardiovascular activity that keeps your heart healthy. The students participated by joining the Rope Warrior on the floor to try out some tricks.
Later in the day, David joined all of the 4th graders at BIS for a jump roping workshop. During the workshop David taught the students a variety of jump rope tricks. He walked students through each trick step by step, and gave individual attention to students as they practiced. David stressed the importance of not giving up and embracing the challenge of rope jumping.
February 10, 2023 BPS
"Stellaluna", Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park traveled to Batesville High School to perform "Stellaluna" for the primary-aged students. The setting of the BHS auditorium really added to the effect of the play. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park had a professional stage setup, costumes, and five performers (four actors and one stage manager). They brought their own sound equipment and efficiently put everything together before the show. The students were engaged and entertained by the familiar story of "Stellaluna", which they were all read by their teachers in advance. This was a wonderful experience for these young students.
February 17, 2023 BIS
Karen Land, Iditarod Musher
Iditarod musher, Karen Land came to Batesville Intermediate School to share her experience mushing in the world’s longest dog-sled race. Students learned about the history or the race, how to prepare for the race and why it is so important. Ms. Land brought all her race gear and helped some students dress up like they were going to be racing. She also brought along 2 furry friends, Noggin and Chloe to help share her story.
To prepare for the show, students read the book Balto in their homeroom classes and were encouraged to follow the race in March.
January 19, 26, February 2, 16, 2023 OA
Kim Brockman, Inspired Studios
Kim Brockman, an artist from Inspired Studios in Oldenburg, worked with students on painting four
religious statues for placement around campus. Kim explained her method to students and talked about
researching the significance of the person in the statue. She also talked about sealing the pieces and how
weather can affect the statues. All freshmen were able to paint at least part of one statue and help design
the color scheme for the pieces. Final pieces will be on display in the Oldenburg Academy Auditorium and the future greenhouse.
April 10, 2023 BMS
Joni Fleming, Caricaturist
Joni Fleming, a retired art teacher and professional caricature artist, came to Batesville Middle School and worked with over 160 students in all 6th and 7th grade arts rotations. Joni described her education and career as a caricature artist working at Kings Island and a calligrapher making products for corporate events, weddings, parties, and even the NFL! Joni demonstrated how she draws caricatures - even drawing on paper with BOTH HANDS AT the same time ambidextrously. In addition, Joni taught the BMS students how to use the ProCreate program on an iPad and provided instruction for the students to draw their own caricature.
April 2023 OA
Tess Klibanoff, Choreographer
Tess Klibanoff came to OA on Saturdays in March to work with the drama club. She choreographed 3 songs for the students, and worked on the routine with them. The students used the dance routine in Oldenburg Academy’s Broadway Musical Revue held April 14 & 16.
April 10-14, 2023 BPS
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
A teaching artist from the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park came to Batesville Primary School and led five days of workshops for all second grade students. The students learned about various fables and folktales by listening to them being read aloud, and then they expanded on what they were learning by creating their own tableaus and interpretations of the characters.
April 17,18, 2023 BIS; April 19, 2023 BPS
Troy Cummings, Author and Illustrator
Author and illustrator Troy Cummings visited Batesville Intermediate School where he presented to each grade level and shared his stories of becoming a writer and illustrator. He worked with students to “create voice” in their writing through his picture book Can I Be Your Dog? Then he shifted gears and walked the students through creating new characters for his Notebook of Doom series. Students participated in creating their own monsters for the book series. Additionally, Mr. Cummings worked with all of the third graders during 45 minute workshops in which students “Wandered Off the Map” to create stories. Troy guided students to create a map of a crazy place and then generate a story to zig-zag through the map.
At Batesville Primary School, Troy gave three different grade level presentations along with a book signing. The students loved his funny stories and engaging, conversational speaking style. During each presentation, Troy talked to the students about his three rules for writing: have fun, ask “what if,” and never give up. He also showed them tips for drawing, including putting a letter “V” between the eyes of any character to make it look angry, even if it’s a cute little kitten.
April 17,2023 BMS
Hot Blown Glass, Ltd and Glass Arts Indiana, Inc.
A unique mobile Hot Shop was set-up behind BMS on Sunday, April 16 for a public event where participants registered to create their own blown glass flower. On Monday, April 17, the glass artists from Hot Blown Glass demonstrated the process of creating beautiful glass art and gave all 6th & 7th grade arts classes, all band and choir students and students in specials classes, and 8th grade the opportunity to see how glass blown art is made. That evening a public demonstration free to the public was held. The artists explained the science behind glass blowing explaining the chemistry of the glass itself, melting points, and the chemistry of the colored glass. They showed how glass reacts to various elements in the molten state and how they manipulate it. They spoke about what education they have, what kinds of art they make and how they make money in this field of art. This was an awesome experience that students will cherish.
April 25, 2023 OA
"Be a light.” Martha Wade spoke to all Oldenburg Academy freshmen for 1.5 hours. She spoke of her personal experiences with trauma and how we have choices – resentment or resilience – and how choosing resilience is a reminder that God gave us life. Martha wove her faith into the trials of her own life and encouraged students to be a light for others, never knowing what they are going through. She talked about how our words and actions matter. All freshmen made a calming stone with their thumbprint after learning about touchpoints on their hands. They also used scratch art to create positive images. In the mixed group session, the students were more personal about their own experiences with trauma.
May 2, 2023 SLS
David Fisher, Rope Warrior
Rope Warrior, David Fisher returned to Batesville to perform for the St. Louis K-8 students. David once again shared his passion for jump roping with the students and explained the healthy cardiovascular benefits of this activity. The students participated by joining the Rope Warrior in a jump roping workshop where David taught the students a variety of jump rope tricks and stressed the importance of not giving up and embracing the challenge of rope jumping.
May 3, 2023 BMS
Epiphany African Dance Collective
Epiphany African Dance Collective is an Indianapolis-based dance company that entertains, educates, and preserves African traditions through quality artistic performances. They performed songs, dances, and drummed interactively, allowing all the students in the audience to not just observe, but to became a part of the show. Epiphany African Dance Collective took the students on a journey through West Africa that put movement in their bodies and joy in their hearts. This group strives to the connect community to culture and was extremely entertaining and educational!
May 3, 2023 OA
Helen Yane is a part-time English teacher at Oldenburg Academy, but what the kids have also come to know her for are her bagels that she makes each night and sells as the OA coffee shop. Per the students’ request, we invited her to teach us the art of bagel making and steal her recipe. We reinforced concepts of baking while also seeing hands on the concepts of yeast blooming and egg wash. Students were also able to play with topics and flavors. Since Helen was able to start some batches ahead of time before class, students were able to see the work of yeast, something we hadn’t been able to do this school year. Helen stayed after to finish the bagels the kids started, so they were able to participate in the whole process.
2022-2023 school year OA
Last year, a science teacher noticed some students doodling and wondered if she could put their artistic interests to play for science. She asked students to design a science-based mural to go outside of their room. Oldenburg Academy alum Elizabeth Schulte (‘18), a graphic designer, worked with students after school, helping finalize the design, outlining, giving pointers, and working with the students. Students also worked on painting the mural during the school day, based on Elizabeth’s advice. The mural was named STEM Mosaic and is on display in the science hallway at OA.
May 3,5,12, 2023 BMS
During “Dancing through the Ages” students explored various styles of recreational, cultural, and social dance from 1920s swing, 1950s sock hop, 1970s disco, and 1990s hip hop. This was in conjunction with the research and presentations that students created in Language Arts for Century Fair. Dancing through the Ages helped students:
· Discover a fun way to stay healthy
· Communicate with others
· Express themselves
· Learn about historical events in a new and fun way
· Build confidence and a positive body image
This event culminated with the instructors joining the students at our Century Fair to show off the dances they learned for the entire school, parents and all outside visitors! It was a HUGE success and students were all involved with the fun of dancing.
May 8-12, 2023 BPS
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Playhouse in the Park returned to Batesville Primary School to lead four days of 45 minute workshops in each classroom in kindergarten and first grade. These workshops involved students stretching and working on their voices and acting skills while studying a popular children’s book. First grade students studied “Dragons Love Tacos” and kindergarten students studied “Green Eggs and Ham”. The lessons began with reading the book, then students recreated scenes using acting skills taught by the teaching artists. The students enjoyed getting out of their seats and moving while learning about a well-loved story.
Angie Gehrich, Painting the Town Pottery
Painting the Town owner, Angie Gehrich visited the St. Louis schools fifth through eighth grade and help them design and glaze a bisqueware pottery piece. Angie covered how and why artist glaze their pottery and then gave students a chance to try this artistic process out for themselves. Every student chose their own colors and no two pieces of pottery came out the same. Angie then took the pottery back to her studio to be fired in the kiln. The students enjoyed creating their design, and were so excited to receive their pottery back after being fired in the kiln. They were able to take them home and enjoy them.
May 15-19, 2023 BHS
Raul, a talented 3D Video Game artist shared his art process and discussed his successful career in video games with Batesville High School arts classes during an engaging session conducted via Google Meet. During the virtual session, Raul introduced a program called Blender, known for its versatility in various creative tasks, including 3D sculpting and modeling for animation, video games, and digital media. This software not only sparked the curiosity of the students but also provided them with a valuable tool for their artistic endeavors. Raul guided them on how to install Blender on their personal computers, enabling them to explore this new medium at their convenience.
To enhance their experience, the students utilized Wacom drawing tablets in conjunction with their MacBooks, immersing themselves in the world of digital art. Raul leveraged screen-sharing capabilities to closely observe their progress and engage in meaningful conversations about their artistic processes. The students greatly appreciated Raul's choice to share his work on recently released video games. Many of them had personal experience playing these games on their home consoles and phones, which heightened their interest and connection to Raul's presentation. Through his expertise, Raul introduced our students to the vast potential of Blender as a tool for artistic expression and expanded their knowledge of the video game industry. The hands-on experience with Wacom tablets allowed our students to engage with this new medium, honing their skills under Raul's guidance.
May 23, 2023 OA
Rebekah Wilhelm, a local cellist and music teacher, joined the applied music classes for instruction and talk on Tuesday, May 23. Rebekah helped supply some missing knowledge about string techniques to our growing chamber orchestra program. She stayed the whole morning to work with all of our string students who are in the applied music course and are currently taking lessons. You can find more information about Rebekah on her website.
May 24, 2023 SLS
Lizzy Russell of Miss Lizzy's Performing Arts Academy in Batesville went over the history of dance and how it evolved in different areas of the world. She explained how culture and the times influence different types of dance. Students were given a very good lesson on the importance of taking care of their muscles and joints, since that is very important for dancers not to injure themselves. Miss Lizzie taught them some of the stretches that dancers used to warm up and that it is also important whenever they engage in strenuous physical activities. The students were allowed to try out some of the different ballet positions and steps. They enjoyed watching her preform them and then having a chance to try them out for themselves. The sixth and seventh grade did some dramatic acting that they really had fun with during the last few minutes of the session. This was such a fun and creative way to end our school year and the students thoroughly enjoyed it.
May 25, 2023 BMS
Bourbon Bluegrass Revival
The Bourbon Revival Band introduced students to the roots of American bluegrass. Through the improvisation of each instrument, students will experience authentic music making at its best. The artists discussed the history of bluegrass music and Identified the numerous instruments bluegrass music commonly uses and named some of the more famous bluegrass musicians. They then performed various classic bluegrass songs along with more contemporary Pop music with Bluegrass interpretation. This was an upbeat cultural and artistic experience for our students to cap off the year on the last school day. The students thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
Batesville Sky began with the Umbrella Sky Project installation from Agueda Portugal. Ethel Rodriguez, Batesville Area Arts Council 2020-2021 President, had seen similar installations in Chihuahua, Mexico and Coral Gables, Florida and thought this would bring a lot of color to our community. While planning for the art installation began well before the pandemic, the timing was perfect to bring an interactive outdoor space to our community where people could safely gather outdoors. It was a wonderful enhancement to our wonderful Batesville Farmer’s Market, and many of our local organizations have hosted events under the Batesville Sky.
Once people started traveling again and our first installation was up in the summer of 2021, the BAAC took the opportunity to market the Batesville Sky Project in the Cincinnati and Indianapolis markets and beyond to get visitors to come and see it, but also to shop, eat and enjoy our wonderful town. Batesville saw a big boost in tourism because of the exhibit, which was one of only 5 of its kind in the United States. It was so well received, BAAC extended the installation to include two more Umbrella Sky exhibits, and two holiday light displays. Many sponsors, donations and grants made these displays possible, and BAAC is grateful to the community for their support and enthusiasm for this project.
The Batesville Sky has been written about in The Washington Post and its Facebook page has received over 150,000 visitors. While the time has come for BAAC to focus efforts into new projects, we are thrilled that the Sky Project will continue to bring joy to residents and visitors in its new home of Elmhurst City Center, Illinois. Elmhurst City Center has purchased the structure and will be moving it to their city around April 4th, 2023.
BAAC's vision is to offer many opportunities for artistic engagement for students and community members in a variety of art genres, which include performances, public art and our nationally recognized Arts In Education program that has brought over $1,000,000 in visiting artists, authors and illustrators to work with our local school children since its inception in 1998. For those interested in getting involved or donating to BAAC’s mission, please visit our website at baacindiana.org.