Enhancing Education through the Arts
An FY2010 Artist Residencies grant to Henniker Community School, Henniker N.H. Grant award: $4,100
Artist Residencies in Schools Grants (AIR) help bring professional teaching artists into schools for hands-on residencies lasting from a few days up to a few months to work with students, teachers, and the local community. The goal of artist residencies is to increase the scope and quality of arts education and develop arts literacy by connecting schools with teaching artists, arts resources, and community organizations that support the arts. Teaching artists are uniquely skilled to build upon the school’s curriculum and engage students in the creative process. To qualify for an AIR grant, schools submit a grant application that describes goals and outcomes for the proposed residency, along with a three-year arts plan.
For their FY2010 Artist Residency grant, Henniker Community School set artistic goals of expanding the dance, music, and visual arts skills of sixth-graders through an exploration of African arts. This included hearing traditional African stories, and learning and performing West African dances.
To accomplish their goals, the school brought in artists Marilyn and Sekou Sylla of the Bamidele Dancers and Drummers; Nigerian printmaker Olusegun Olorunfemi; photojournalist Michael Munhall, and storyteller Len Cabral. The artists spent 18 school days over a two-month period working closely with 60 sixth-grade students who were studying five African countries: Mali, South Africa, Nigeria, Guinea, and Kenya. Through the course of the residency, the students and teachers gained a much greater understanding of the culture, geography, and history of several African cultures. Sixth-grade parents and families were invited to participate with the Bamidele Dancers and Drummers in specially designed workshops.
All 425 students in the school, kindergarten through sixth grade, benefited from the residency through school assemblies that included music, dance, and storytelling presentations.
The residency widened to include interested members of the community, who attended a free public performance that was the culmination of the Artist Residency grant. More than 300 people were on hand for the presentation, a dynamic performance of music and dance by both the sixth-graders and the Bamidele Dancers and Drummers, complete with authentic costumes, masks, and music.
For more information on Artist Residency in Schools Grants contact Arts Education & Arts in Health Care Coordinator Catherine O'Brian, at 603-271-0795 or email [email protected]
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September 7, 2010