Artist standing in a circle in a classroom with 9 students. They all have their knees together and bent, with their arms stretched wide. The teacher looks on from the back of the classroom.

LIVE (Live Interactive Video Education) Arts Saskatchewan is a distance learning program which allows a variety of professional artists to connect simultaneously with teachers and students in multiple schools across Saskatchewan for a live experience in arts education. The program is offered though SK Arts in collaboration with the Government of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Education, SaskCulture through support from Sask Lotteries.

The program was created to increase accessibility to the arts for traditionally underserved communities who face challenges with access, to expose children to arts career possibilities and solidify the relationships and connection between artists and the local communities. It provides an enriching arts education available for all K-12 schools in our province that supports arts education and links to cross-curricular and cross-cultural outcomes.

Students are exposed to a diverse range of artistic practices, traditional and contemporary, expressed through various disciplines such as dance, music, visual arts, crafts, etc. Broadcasts are fun and engaging while introducing youth to new ways of thinking and experiencing the arts.

“One great thing about the LIVE Arts program is how it seeks to make the arts accessible to students. Not just for them to reach out and create something, but to see that a career in the arts is a possibility,“ says Dash Reimer, program coordinator, LIVE Arts Saskatchewan. “This can be seen in how we train older elementary students to operate our cameras during the live broadcast or when Q & A sessions are integrated with the artists into our program.” 

Statistics show that of the more than 36 million people living in Canada (2021, census), artists accounted for only 200,000. The program not only engages the student but also provides professional artists with the opportunity for paid work and growth opportunities in expanding their craft and skillset when they design a session to achieve the outcomes tied to the curriculum.

In partnership with various school divisions across the province, the program now broadcasts over 30 programs annually featuring artists from several disciplines, such as dance, drama, literary, music, and visual arts. 

They are delivered in four sessions, designed and separated by class level. They are aired over the Ministry of Education’s LIVE Satellite Network for two days monthly. LIVE Arts runs from September to May of the academic year.

Jody Greenman-Barber, a Program Consultant at SK Arts, shared that the program recently received an overhaul to keep it current and ensure it is consistently meeting the needs of students. During the pandemic, the program held steadfast as artists, teachers and students faced challenges travelling. She says it is multifaceted in its purpose to improve access to the arts for the students and present the arts as a possibility but to provide opportunities for local artists. 

“The impact of this program is significant in that it recognizes and values the work artists do in our province. By bringing artists into the classroom space, we’re essentially investing in our future by providing opportunities for students and teachers access to these great contributors to our society,” said Jody Greenman-Barber.

Teachers can sign up their classes for monthly sessions by visiting the website and registering to gain access to the sessions and materials. For more information on sessions and the academic years’ LIVE Arts schedule, visit: LIVE Arts Saskatchewan (liveartsaskatchewan.com)