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LT 1 Upper Valley Arts/Nonprofits Session Day Notes 12.8.09

Summary of Upper Valley Arts/Nonprofits Session Day:

Our first panel discussion of the day included representatives from various arts organizations in the Upper Valley.

Jody Davidson, the education director for Northern Stage, and our host for the day, started us off by giving us information about their in-house and outreach programs. Some of the programs they provide:
• Experiential creative drama: boost students’ imagination, help provide basic acting skills plus creative out-of-the box thinking and problem solving skills.
• Summer camps: students write, perform and produce a play
• Technique classes
• Ensemble: intensive training programs, ages 8-18, group of 30
• Special needs classes
• Dance and voice classes
• In house residencies at schools (Shakespeare at Leb High)
• Project Playwright: 5 NH, 5 VT schools, 5th & 6th graders, 10 weeks of professional playwrights at schools, they produce the best play from each school
• Junior Producers: 5th & 6th grades, students go to rehearsals and help produce shows, learn about process
• Kids Theatre Arts (KTA): once/month write, create and produce a play and bring to community
• Work with approximately 5,000 children/year
• 60% earned income, 40% grants/donations

Pat Picciano does education outreach for Margaritas. He spent three years in Mexico, apprenticing with a mask maker, put on puppet plays and perfecting his Spanish. Margaritas offers:
• Field trips to Margaritas. Often Spanish, Social Studies or Culinary classes will visit (Middle & High School students) for two hours. They can accommodate 25-35 students at a time, and provide a study guide, video footage of Mexico, a food demo and a restaurant tour. $10/student.
• Visiting artists from Mexico. Use artist in residence format. Typically mid October to mid November. Provide a study guide ahead of time.

Louis Cornell, Upper Valley Music Center founder/treasurer, shared information about their organization and programs. Located in Lebanon, they are a small music school with approximately 370 participants. They provide private lessons (Suzuki strings), ensemble, chorus, orchestra, etc. They do provide scholarships. www.uvmusic.org. 60% earned income, 40% donations/grants. They are the only all-purpose music school in the area.

Adam Blue, education director at AVA Gallery and Art Center, shared some of the programs AVA offers:
• Now have partnership with Advance Transit to exhibit on busses. 40 artists, 77 original artworks on busses. Large target audience: 38,000 riders/month. This is a way for artists to build their resumes.
• Best of Upper Valley High School Invitational Showing: art faculty nominate 8 artworks from their school, have an opening reception and awards at AVA. Last year 16 schools participated with 120 pieces. 300 people attended the event. They then sold the artwork. Included drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, poetry, printmaking, etc.
• Art Stop for elementary school age students: 3:30-5:30pm, $5/student. Supervised, kids make what they want.
• CAOS: Saturdays 11-4, parent/child access to art supplies, $5/person. Goal is to increase creative relationship between parent and child.
• Custom create curriculum: pilot with Seminary Hill School
• High school internships: help install exhibitions, help with receptions, work with artists, gallery sitters, layout, arts educators at camps, mentor with faculty, etc.
• Arts classes
• 125 artists on faculty at AVA: Adam can help connect schools to artists
• Professional development for arts educators
• Lebanon charter school sends students to AVA for art credit
• Arts camps, different age groups, technology, creativity, various themes
• Digital arts media lab
• Staff of three plus two half-time

Following our morning panel discussion, Jody Davidson and Mary Gaetz led us through a variety of theatre games, working on confidence building and teamwork. Jody then took us on a backstage tour of Northern Stage. We saw costumes, props being designed and created, the stage itself, backstage, etc.

For our afternoon conversation, we talked with the following people:
• Nora Doyle-Burr, Programs Coordinator, Upper Valley Land Trust: UVLT has a need for volunteers, and they hold their annual training in the spring
• Peter Glenshaw, Director of Community Relations, Dartmouth College: some of the offerings at Dartmouth include the Hood Museum, the library is open to all, making the connection between school librarians and DC librarians, www.community.dartmouth.edu for calendar events listing, etc.
• Sara Kobylenski, Executive Director, The Upper Valley Haven: The Haven provides a shelter for 8 families and is in construction for housing 20 individuals. They have a food shelf 5 days/week. They work with Willing Hands Organization which gleans food from farms and businesses. Sarah’s background: former school board member, taught secondary education, then became a social worker. Philosophy: education is proven way out of poverty. They do an afterschool program (Dartmouth students volunteer), schools will often help The Haven by doing food drives, coat drives, etc.
• Rob Macri, Education Director, Farms for City Kids: typically a program for city kids, Farms also hosts local classes for day trips. Hands-on, experiential learning about farm animals, gardening, etc. Tie in science, math and other subjects while learning about the farm.
• Kevin Peterson, Executive Director, NH Charitable Foundation, UV Region: they serve 60 towns by providing grants to nonprofit organizations.

Following our afternoon panel discussion, Bonnie Fields, the jobs program coordinator at Hartford High School, came in and shared with the group her Leadership Teacher experience and how she worked with Jody Davidson to help create a theatre program for special needs students.

The group then reflected on some of the information shared today: critical thinking skills are so important, creativity is key, the breadth of arts programs available locally, very interesting how the arts organizations and nonprofits were all linked in some way to the others.


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