Education for All: The Legacy of Comenius

Jan Amos Comenius (Jan Ámos Komenský: Czech), (1592-1670) shaped education, philosophy, and international diplomacy. This year marks the 430th anniversary of his birth.

The Education for All exhibition and symposium honor the life and legacy of Comenius, including a description of his ground-breaking work and highlighting its relevance to the 21st century.

Jan Amos Comenius is considered the father of modern education. He was born in 1592 in Nivnice, Moravia and died in 1670 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. From the persecution and hardships he suffered in his life, he came to develop a philosophy, called pan sophism, which emphasized political unity, religious reconciliation, and cooperation in education. This philosophy of pan sophism related education to everyday life and called for a systematic relationship to be developed for all knowledge. He advocated teaching in the common or vernacular language of students rather than in Latin, and the establishment of a universal system of education with opportunities that included women, children, and peoples of all nations.

Beginning on September 23, the two-day symposium starts with a 17-panel display depicting the life and legacy of Comenius. Among the events scheduled are an international reception, a presentation on the Czech Republic’s presidency of the European Union, a panel of Fulbright scholars from various disciplines, a lecture on the legacy of Comenius, and a film about his life.

Contributors in Attendance: Czech & Slovak Cultural Center of Minnesota; Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago; Office of the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic/Minneapolis; Czech and Slovak Sokol Minnesota; University of Minnesota; and the University of St. Thomas

Please contact Renáta Tichá at with any questions and to register.


Friday, September 23

University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration Location: Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain Community Room

4:30 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions by a representative from the Consulate General in Chicago

4:45 p.m.

Presentation by Jan Šiška and Renáta Tichá: “Comenius’ Education Legacy”

5:30 p.m.

“Education for All” Comenius panel display and reception (as part of the “Art for All” initiative at ICI)

Saturday, September 24

Morning at University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration Location: Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain Community Room (hybrid)

10:00 a.m.

Presentation by Ing. Monika Bokšová: "Europe as a Task"

11:30 a.m.

Presentation by Tim Price on his book “The Labyrinth of the World and The Paradise of the Heart”

Afternoon at University of St. Thomas

1:00 p.m.

Fulbright scholar panel – Jan Šiška, Mark Neužil, Ande Nesmith (on Zoom), Ken Janda, Pavel Škrobánek Location: Murray-Herrick Hall Room 100 (hybrid)

4:00 p.m.

Film “Comenius” introduced by Klara Long (daughter of producers) and closing remarks Location: O'Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium

Welcome Art Advisors Thaden and Rocco

Art for All welcomes new community advisors to the art committee, Andy Thaden and James Rocco. Both Andy and James have a long history of community engagement and their wealth of experience will be invaluable to the growth of the program.

Andy Thaden in her home smiling.

Andy Thaden holds a BA in Art, is a community engagement liaison, and is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She says, "My interest and work-life has been with people with diverse abilities and talent working as a preschool teacher, art instructor, and a group home parent. For 30 plus years I supported a man with a traumatic brain injury to work in his family’s greenhouse and I will bring those experiences to help grow the Art for All program".

James Rocco outside.

James Rocco is a Broadway actor, director, producer, and writer who has won numerous awards and accolades such as the Broadway World Awards throughout his more than 200 production career. He has held positions such as Vice President of Programming at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and co-founder of Thirty Saints Productions. Rocco has a long career in community engagement and says he is looking forward to working on Art for All.

Discovery Magazine | story from the University of Minnesota Foundation

Take a look at the latest story, Art for All published in the UMN Foundation's magazine Discovery. The artwork presented is from the exhibit entrance by artists Lena Osman, Derek Ouradnik, Tina Parry, and Nate Woodard.

Connect Magazine | story from the College of Education and Human Development

CEHD's Connect Magazine features a story about inclusive art at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain and the Blythe Brendan-Mann Community Center, the new home for Art for All's art installation space. The Inclusive art story can be found at CEHD news or by downloading the magazine PDF .

Moving forward: A collaboration

ICI’s MNLEND program and Transition Plus School (Tplus) have invited Art for All to collaborate on a mural project in which T-plus students will create a mural on the walls of their school that represents the meaning of transition from high school to community life for people with disabilities. MNLEND Fellows Erica Lee and Tayler Guccione led a community forum called “Creative Conversations,” FEW WORDS ON WHAT THIS WAS. Transition Plus’ art teacher AJ Molle and principal Jason Backes are leading the students through the process. Lena Osman, a graduate of Tplus has joined the project as a mentoring artist. Lena will provide an artist talk to the students about her own transition process and career development.

Impact: Careers in the Arts

Art for All founder Sheryl Evelo and program manager Nik Fernholz profiled the growing program in a recent issue of Impact, ICI’s flagship publication. The article shares Art for All’s vision for supporting the work of artists with disabilities through philanthropic support.