Keeping the Arts Alive in Education
by Anita Brown, Program Officer
“With the help of your foundation I have been able to reach MANY second graders over the past several years, and some of them have discovered they really DO enjoy being on a stage. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to keep the arts alive in education.” –Gina Bruno, Second Grade Teacher, Central Elementary, received an Arts Resource Grant for a student musical production
Here are some examples of projects we supported through this teacher resource grant program last year:
Diana Garcia Clavero, a Spanish Immersion Program teacher at Alvin S. Hatch Elementary in Half Moon Bay, received an Arts grant for costumes and supplies for a third-grade student performance of a traditional dance from Veracruz, Mexico. “We tried to stay as true to the Veracruz style of dress for our dance ‘El Tilingo Lingo,” she wrote. “Our dresses and hats were even shipped in from Mexico. It took us months of rehearsals, as well as days to prepare the pieces that we needed; and it was all possible because of the help we received from the foundation.”
At Farallone View Elementary, teacher Linda Herbert purchased art supplies for students to develop their problem solving skills and create their own art pieces. They worked on a timeline of North American art through the ages, beginning with cave paintings. Linda said, “Not only did the students have opportunities to express themselves creatively, they had the emotional experiences that creative expression brings: pride, exploration, relaxation, ‘down time,’ emotional release, and discovery.”
Elena Mori, the Vocal, Drama, and Dance teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City received an Arts grant to support three school performances of The Lion King. “Since our drama teacher is retiring at the end of the year, it was up to the parents at our school to step up and make the school play happen this year.” Elena rented some costumes; invited African drumming expert Mike Fair to teach students how to play the drums for the musical; and found Stacey Ardelean, a seasoned director, to help set up the process for keeping the school’s drama program going.
At Santee Elementary in San Jose, teacher Tina Aberg’s project involved creating a faux taxidermy cardboard bear head in the colorful and geometric style of Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter and abstract artist. The Arts grant allowed Tina to purchase supplies (such as gesso, red, yellow, and blue acrylic paint, polyurethane spray, painters tape, black gridline tape, paintbrushes, and hardware for hanging the bear head) for students across all grade levels to participate. “Creating art allows our English Language Learners the experience of practicing the language through a low-stress activity,” said Tina. “Thanks for helping build our community. We can’t wait to hang our new creation, which will be a constant reminder of the importance of our Santee Elementary family and the village surrounding us that helps lift us to great heights!”
We are proud to support arts education and thank the Westly Foundation for providing students with the means to express themselves creatively.