As we wrap up the summer and prepare programming for the fall, we wanted to take a moment to share highlights from the last year, one that was filled with unprecedented challenges and many accomplishments. We found new and innovative ways to reach the children and families of Virginia with the power of the arts, despite COVID-19 restrictions. And we look forward to continuing to do so, wherever and however students are being schooled. Enjoy!
Our artists love being back in front of families and children with in-person performances, and there are so many free public programs for you and your kids to experience. Here’s a quick look at what’s happening during the next couple of weeks, starting tonight!
Thursday, July 15 from 6-6:50 pm, Newport News Public Library. Enjoy a performance of “Anchor Tales” by storyteller Dylan Pritchett (moved indoors in case of stormy weather). Please register here: https://www.library.nnva.gov/264/Events-Calendar
Saturday, July 17 from 10-11 a.m., Abram Frink Jr. Community Center, 8901 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg: Dancer Jasmine Marshall will get you up and moving in this high-energy workshop, “African Fusion,” which blends West African and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. No dancing experience required! Stay for more fun as the Williamsburg Regional Library celebrates its new Bookmobile! https://www.wrl.org/event/funfest-at-abram-frink/
Wednesday, July 21 from 10-10:50 a.m., Williamsburg Regional Library, downtown Williamsburg: Magician Harold Wood performs “The Magic Library.” https://www.wrl.org/event/harold-wood-the-magic-library/
Saturday, July 24 from 2-2:50 p.m., Chesapeake Public Library, South Norfolk Memorial branch: Storyteller Dylan Pritchett presents “Essential African Threads.” https://events.chesapeakelibrary.org/event/5252884
Tuesday, July 27 from 6-6:50 pm, Chesapeake Public Library, Indian River branch: Storyteller Sheila Arnold presents “Old School Classics.” https://events.chesapeakelibrary.org/event/5223390
Wednesday, July 28: It’s triple entertainment by Gary Garlic as he performs his “Caribbean Dreaming” steel drums program at three locations in a single day. He starts off at 10 a.m. at WRL’s James City County branch at 10 a.m. https://www.wrl.org/event/gary-garlic-caribbean-dreaming followed by a 1 p.m. show at the downtown Williamsburg branch. And he wraps up with a performance at the Poquoson Public Library at 4 pm. Register here: Poquoson Public Library-Gary Garlic
Want to stay home and watch a program from the comfort of your own living room? Norfolk Public Library is hosting videos by J&J Dance and Arabic folk singer/dancer Karim Nagi. Click the links for details!
Everybody loves snacks…and our Arts + Learning Snacks are no exception. Look at the big smiles on these kids’ faces as they received their free art activity kits. We handed out 250 snack kits to children who attended the “One City Wake Up and Read Summer Kick-Off” this month in Newport News. And word has it that at Virginia Beach Public Libraries, they’re flying off the shelves because “everybody loves them.”
Who wouldn’t love an engaging, hands-on art activity?
Find out more about our Learning Snacks by clicking here!
Take art supplies, mix them with heaping portions of creativity, and serve them to elementary-aged kids hungry for a break from screen time—that’s our winning recipe for Arts + Learning Snacks, which are now being delivered to area elementary schools. These art activity kits have the right ingredients for kids to use their hands and minds to make an art project by themselves or with their caregivers.
Five Norfolk public elementary schools have received the first batch of Learning Snacks, which feature instructions in English and Spanish on how to create a mini-comic. A4L’s comic artist Matt Harrison designed the curriculum, which includes supplies and calls for students to invent characters, plots, and settings as they write and draw their own comic adventures.
A number of artists and board members have stepped up to help assemble the snacks, following all COVID-19 safety precautions.
Storyteller Via Goode and board member Diane Gibson had the honor of delivering the first snacks to five Norfolk elementary schools: Jacox, James Monroe, Lindenwood, Tidewater Park, and Richard Bowling.
Another Learning Snack, the “Zen of ‘Za,” will be distributed soon. The snack is custom designed for students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), tying movement of the body with lines in art; activities include students stretching to “make a pizza” and creating a decorative “pizza” out of the art materials supplied. A4L dancer Jae P Renee is creating supplemental videos with visual instructions for students. Two hundred of these snacks are headed to the Portsmouth Autism Resource Team (PART) for distribution. The Zen of ‘Za will also be provided to a number of schools for use by kids in kindergarten through third grade who don’t have an ASD diagnosis.
The two current Learning Snacks—with a new one now being developed—will be distributed for free to more students via additional elementary schools in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia Beach Public Libraries, the Newport News FACE office, and community sites in Portsmouth.
There’s a little added bonus for Norfolk’s PB Young Elementary School from the Snacks’ initiative. Thanks to Office Depot’s “Give Back to Schools” program, the school has received $115 in rewards from the money we’ve spent to purchase supplies for the kits.
The snack kits give under-resourced students a break from screen time and the challenge of a hands-on arts project that aligns with Virginia’s fine arts and literacy Standards of Learning. Would you like to help bring more Learning Snacks to children in economically disadvantaged areas of Hampton Roads? Click here to donate.
Do you want to learn how you can bring Learning Snacks to your school, library, or community center? Start by clicking here for more info!
We’re grateful to our partners who are underwriting the cost of these “meals for the mind”—thanks to Aldi Smart Kids, the E.C. Wareheim Foundation, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the Portsmouth Service League, and the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission for their major support of this new initiative.
Tidewater Family Plus featured Arts for Living’s CEO, Chris Everly, in its March issue. As a parent, what did she tell her son when he was thinking about a job in the arts? Click below to read her answer! https://www.tidewaterfamily.com/learning-fun/art-folks-meet-christine-everly
Plus there’s much more, including how COVID-19 has changed Arts for Learning for the better.