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Firing The "Canon": Developing Culturally Relevant Programs

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Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center

4859 S. Wabash Avenue

Chicago, IL 60615

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Students learn best from lessons that connect with their lives and interests. To provide the most enriching arts education experiences to students, educators must develop culturally-relevant programs to address student needs and desires. Educators must be aware of the importance of not only meeting student needs, but also ensuring that students' families and community experiences are included in the development of arts programming.

Participants will:

  • Understand the "Western Canon" and how practicing within the "Western Canon" can limit your effectiveness

  • Learn new strategies to create culturally-informed programs and provide arts instruction through a cultural humity lens

  • Engage in training to determine how different cultural successes and concerns can be integrated into daily classroom practices, while ensuring students can see themselves and personally relate to the concepts and examples provided

Light food will be provided.




  • Reginald Harris, LISW, CTP

    Reginald Harris, LISW, CTP



Reginald Harris, LISW, CTP is a social worker, therapist, and arts educator. A former professional ballet dancer with ten years of professional performing experience, he danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Ballet Austin, River North Chicago Dance Company, and Dances Patrelle. In 2009, Reginald was one of a small group of arts educators to open The Chicago High School for the Arts (Chiarts) - Chicago’s first and only public performing arts high school. In 2011, Reginald became dance department chair at Chiarts and worked to build a comprehensive and intensive dance curriculum. Currently, Reginald is the Community Life Senior Manager for The Community Builders, a nonprofit real estate development company. He is on faculty at Cincinnati Ballet Academy, is a precinct executive for the Hamilton County Democratic Party, and a vice chair for the Cincinnati Democratic Committee. He sits on the board of directors for Caracole (Cincinnati, OH), and was named C(4) board chair Equality Ohio (Columbus, OH). Additionally, Reginald is a member of policy committee for the Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County and was appointed chair of the Human Services Chamber transportation subcommittee. As a certified trauma practitioner (CTP) - Reginald has developed an arts-focused training that addresses trauma and the ways in which it impacts students’ cognitive and emotional development and academic achievement, and works closely with arts education organizations on becoming trauma-informed. Reginald holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Organizational Leadership from Roosevelt University and a Master of Social Work from Boston University. Reginald has dedicated his life to service, social and economic justice, and arts education through activism, community engagement, and advocacy.
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Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center

4859 S. Wabash Avenue

Chicago, IL 60615

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