The Building Assets program began in 2004 with generous funding from The Children’s Trust. It is an arts program for elementary school children that uses the visual and performing arts to build communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills while fostering creativity and artistic proficiency. This year, our artists created afterschool residencies at Silver Bluff Elementary, Southside Elementary School, Greenglade Elementary, Mater Academy East, the Primary Learning Center, and North Beach Elementary and served over 300 students between kindergarten and fifth grade.
The Reflection Session allowed the artists to come together and find out what their peers were able to accomplish with the students and share stories and techniques they discovered along the way. We learned how Beatriz Montanez was able to stage an incredible Bollywood inspired original production of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” Kira Tippenhauer marvelled at how involved the parents were with their children’s creations at the Primary Learning Center. Asser Saint-Val entertained the crowd with stories of how his students at Mater Academy East created board games based on their families. The students at Greenglade created intricately detailed weavings and watercolor books with Angel Condori and Maria Perez. Lisa Colandrea beamed when she spoke of her students at North Beach creating their own portable fold-up art galleries for their family night displays. Since so many of the artists are out in the field at the same time, they never get to see what the others are up to- to take a moment and share these stories and examples really helps A4L create that sense of community that we want for our Teaching Artists.
And since we are very much an organization that believes in practicing what we preach, we had to make some art as part of the discussion! Mentor Teaching Artist Laura Luna led a printmaking activity that could very easily find its way in to some classrooms this fall. Every one at the workshop had to work together to create an image that tied symbolically to the work of the artist on both sides next to him/her, all together creating a print that represented the group. It was a lot harder than we thought it would be, but very, very worthwhile in the end! Kind of like an afterschool art residency, isn’t it?