This Friday, our Community Arts class will be finishing our sessions with the Alabama Blues Project. It has been a lot of fun working with the 5th grade at Matthews Elementary. Together as teachers, we learned that with the right guidance, children are capable of incredible amounts of creativity. This semester the children learned interpersonal and self presentation skills through cartoon self portraits and theater activities. They also learned collaboration and planning skills through painting murals. Breaking out of comfort zones was an obstacle that they had to occasionally overcome, but once they pushed past and got started on their artwork or activity, they gained confidence and exceeded our expectations. Through discussion, we learned strategies and insights to take back to our individual communities and careers to improve living no matter how small the change. After this semester and beyond, the three of us will have experience and strategies to evaluate and better our different environments through art and collaboration.
This semester our Community Arts class is working with the Alabama Blues Project doing art programs at Matthews. The Alabama Blues Project is a non-profit that seeks to preserve the Blues music as a traditional and contemporary art form through interactive programs that educate and entertain. For the last three weeks, we have had the artist Ron Morris working with the 4th graders. The children got to work with clay in order to make gong like instrument. The first week they made clay stamps, the second week they used the stamps to decorate the clay gongs and glaze them, and on the third week, the children decorated their sticks and played their gongs. The next few weeks the 4th graders will be split into groups with singing, dancing, and art on Thursdays. The 5th graders are split into groups doing vocals, guitars, drums and harmonicas on Fridays. Our Community Arts class will be assisting the Alabama Blues Project by helping with art and theater lessons. The program will end with a final performance where all the children will come together and perform with their instruments and have speaking parts about Blue history as well as displaying a student made backdrop. Our class is super excited to be partnering with the Alabama Blues Project this semester! Visit their website at alabamablues.org.