Subs with SuitCASES

Creative Approaches to Substitute Education

To support our goal of acting as a catalyst for arts activities in the schools, and creating sustainable opportunities for teaching artists to work, we have developed Subs with SuitCASEs. This program addresses our local public schools’ need for well-trained, highly-prepared substitute teachers who deliver compelling, relevant materials, while also expanding access to outstanding arts-based education for K-12 students. Participating teaching artists are prepared to teach in any classroom; they integrate art activities into the prepared lesson plan whenever possible, and – with advance notice – they can plan art lessons that tie directly into the current curriculum.

Subs with SuitCASEs draws on the magical qualities of the suitcase, an icon of possibility and anticipation. Our teaching artists are equipped with teaching skills, learning activities, and actual suitcases stocked with art supplies, making them engaging, effective substitute teachers with special lessons that integrate the arts. Participating teaching artists are all professional studio artists who also have experience working with children. In addition, they all have extensive training specifically for this program, including: Effective Teacher Training – an 8-week class at Mayland Community College; continuing education seminars at Penland School of Crafts with Mimi Herman, a writer and teaching artist; a 3-day mentorship with a Mitchell County teacher; ongoing evaluation and feedback from Mark Sidelnick, Professor of Education at UNC-Asheville; and ongoing staff and peer support through Penland’s Teaching Artist Network and The Arts Matter, a group that meets bi-monthly to help further arts education in Mitchell County.



Penland Resident Artists




Mitchell High School Latin students created this mosaic with sub Kerstin Davis. They studied Roman mosaics and images of Roman soldiers in art - then worked in small groups to create their own mosaics using paper scraps. This project was arranged in advance with the Latin teacher.