I work as a teaching artist for the Boch Center (Schubert and Wang Theater) Target Arts program. We develop in school residencies that integrate literacy and the arts and culminate in a student created performance.
The Target Arts program operates on the belief that it is a right for every young person to have a creative life, experience art and express themselves creatively regardless of skill level and/ or socioeconomic status. Every child should be supported in developing their own creative capitol. The Boch Center's unique education programs aim to reach people of all backgrounds by providing free youth programs that are broad-based and culturally diverse, making the arts accessible, interactive, fun and empowering for all participants. The goal of each program is to provide youth development, community learning and access.
During the Autumn of 2016 we created a performance based on Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed. I continue to explore the ways arts education is an essential part of cognitive development for elementary school students. Read more about this project in my blog for the project here:
This afternoon as I arrived to a workshop the teacher asked me to share where I was coming from: my reply was “Eighteen third graders.” The students in are group are indeed a force of nature. But, as we work this fall I am learning how the quiet moments they are finding inside of our creative movement exercises and the gentle hum of Michael’s trombone are powerful too. Ms. Curin’s third graders are building a dance in three acts based on the story of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. As readers and thinkers students are exploring the essential questions How is an idea like a seed? What does it mean to never give up? and Have you ever watched something grow? We meet weekly on Mondays and Thursdays to stretch, breath, move and create. This past week we started working on the stage and have begun formal rehearsals for our final show in December. This thursday we will begin to wrap up our song writing workshop. Michael, my assistant is going to lead them in building their own melodies. The following week we will layer on our own lyrics with excerpts takenfrom student writings. Hopefully some of these lyrics will be in Spanish too! We are also looking ahead to building some instruments for the performance. And, the week before Thanksgiving we will have paint day! The patterned paper students create will be used for puppets we will weave in and out of the dancers during our Autumn Leaves scene and our Underwater Scene.
In the Spring of 2016 I continued with Target Arts producing a new show this time for second graders in East Boston. Our second grade group researched the themes of Hope, Optimism, Justice and Family. As we read, wrote, danced and discussed we watched and read parts of the Broadway Musical Annie. Target Arts provided an opportunity for the whole class to go to see the production (and meet the cast!) on May 12 at the Wang Theater in downtown Boston.
For the project we asked: What makes a family? Is it a person, place or idea? What feelings make a family? Who takes care of me? How do they take care of me? How can a sister be like a father? How can a cousin be like a brother? Etc… Students used the performing arts as ways to process lived experience and dig deeper into these questions.
Students read and performed several poems from Marianne Hoberman’s book Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers. We practiced an improvisational score called Flocking and created a collage of movement phrases based off of “family memories” and images of families taken from a wide variety of photographic sources such as the Lion King, the Obama family, Dorothea Lange, Time Magazine and Buzzfeed. Students also created a “song” with body percussion using stomping and clapping inspired the It’s A Hardknock Life montage from the 1982 film version of Annie. To create this song students wrote their own melodies and learned basic musical notation. Students performed the piece in Spanish and English as part of a Mother’s Day Tea Party on May 12, 2017.