Laura Montalvan welcomed us into her classroom with endless enthusiasm for the work that surrounds her. As the visual arts instructor at Westwind School for Performing Arts, Laura believes that subjects like math and science are not independent of arts – but complementary in our interconnected world. “Just think of all the examples,” she insists. Laura helps young creatives, 6th – 8th grade students, explore personal expression across a comprehensive curriculum. This multidisciplinary model cultivates intrigue and inspiration, in addition to intellectual acumen that combines the transformative power of arts + education.
Westwind School for Performing Arts was established by Theresa Timmons with a vision to bring the arts into every aspect of learning. This charter school integrates dance, music, visual arts and filmmaking into core academic classes. She reflects, “The Timmons Arts Foundation allowed me to witness first-hand the improvement in students’ literacy skills, critical thinking skills as well as a sense of community. I was inspired to create a setting that provided more of an impact.” Theresa realized she could be the agent of change that the educational landscape of Central Arkansas needed. Coupled with her network + resources of talent to make it happen, Theresa comprised a dedicated team of educators to equip young Arkansans. Each member of the Westwind School for Performing Arts team provides a unique perspective at the Maumelle campus and Laura was one of the first to join. “Laura’s experience as an educator and her ability to really connect with our creatives make her an invaluable resource to our families, “Theresa elaborates. “She wants every creative to discover the individuality that makes them so special.”
Laura remembers mentors that helped shape her life. “They showed me how to reach students where they are, not where we expect them to be. At Westwind School for Performing Arts, this propels me to be the best I can for students and continue to be a life-learner.” She shares this philosophy with young creatives who will be the next generation of leaders. “It’s a platform to guide and inspire creatives. Middle school can be a tough time for kids, but the arts can be used as an outlet for expression.”
It is this kind of community that makes Westwind School for Performing Arts unique. “It’s a safe space for children to thrive and develop.” In addition to visual arts, Laura teaches Spanish and utilizes her own experiences to bring practicality into the classroom. “Just like my journey to teaching here, each creative has a path. We seek to show them how all knowledge overlaps in the world. It fills me with immense pride to think of how much they mature and learn about themselves during the