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C.A.C. Programming at Discovery School Glendale, Arizona
From October 10th to October 21st, participants within the Cultural Arts Coalition have been interacting with 60 students at Discovery School in Glendale, Arizona.
A multi age classroom of first through fifth graders taught by Cathy Gayman and Ingrid Hamilton has been the site of a nine week integrated literacy, arts and social studies unit in this very ethnically diverse community.
Christy Puetz, education coordinator at The Bead Museum, and judy butzine, C.A.C., have worked with Ms. Gayman for the past four years through funding provided by the Glendale Arts Council. Each year a new thematic unit is determined and integrated into classroom studies.
This year through relationships built with participants of the Cultural Arts Coalition: Keith Johnson, African Drummer, and Ayo Sharpe Mouzon, African Dancer, and Christy Sholola, educator and writer, have been contracted to provide the performing arts and historical background experiences to these children at Discovery School. The Bead Museum is the fiscal agent and primary collaborator for this process.
The 14 Guiding Principles of the Cultural Arts Coalition set the criteria of format for the multidisciplinary curriculum development. Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Gayman not only accessed the lesson unit from The Bead Museum web site (Http://www.beadmuseumaz.org go to Yoruba Beadwork under Education on the menu), but sought out additional children's literature to supplement this nine weeks' of classroom instruction. Please note many of the books in one of the attached images.
Christy Sholola, writer and educator, introduced the first day of the lesson unit in the classroom by giving an overview of the history of those persons from Africa who made the forced "Middle Passage" to North America and the evolving of this culture and the contributions to our societies by these descendants over the past 300 years. Christy is married to a Nigerian gentleman from the Yoruba culture and together they are raising three children with a respect for the origins and contributions of African-American people.
Ayo and Keith brought in the movement and energy that gave all of the children opportunities to experience music and dance, BUT WITH ABSOLUTE PURPOSEFULNESS. And this is what I mean by that statement. Keith and Ayo explained that in African dance and drumming these are very important means of communicating and reinforcing values, idea and beliefs of the various cultures. A dance Giving Honor to the Harvest was introduced. the conversation evolved to giving respect to Mother Earth and its interconnectedness to our lives. This language continued to give FOCUS to the Honoring of Our Own Mothers. Then continued TO GIVE HONOR TO OURSELVES because we are the continuation of life in the "cycle of life".
THIS KIND OF DIALOGUE WITH PURPOSEFULNESS AND CONNECTION TO A FOCUS OF UNIVERSAL HUMAN CONDITION IS WHAT THE CULTURAL ARTS COALITION IS TRYING TO ELEVATE IN ITS CAMPAIGN OF AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING IN THE VALUE FOR THE ARTS THAT DO NOT COME OUT OF MERE DECORATION.