Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Soak Up Your Community's Arts & Culture

In Your Community - With Your Children

1. Most communities have arts festivals or craft fairs—even seasonal celebrations that feature music and dancing. The more opportunity children have to see the arts in action, the more ideas they will get about how they can participate and contribute.

2. Attend presentations in the arts at your local schools, colleges, and universities. Colleges and universities often produce calendars of activities that you can call and request or look for online. Costs are free or lower than most professional venues.

3. Attend presentations at professional venues to help your child experience excellence: children's theater for younger children and adult dramas, comedies, and musicals for older children, symphonies, jazz ensembles, dance companies featuring ballet, ethnic (Irish step dancing, Spanish flamenco, American square dancing), or modern forms including jazz and tap.
Museums sometimes offer musical and dramatic programming as well as their regular exhibits.
Singing practice and instruction through choirs can often be found at no cost through local churches and houses of worship.

4. Enroll them in classes that teach drawing, dance, musical instruments, singing, or theater skills. There are some classes that parents and children can take together. Private teachers and studios offer lessons but less-costly arts opportunities can also be found through local Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, YWCAs, Girl Scouts, and libraries, to name just a few. Contact your local arts agency to ask for leads to community and cultural organizations that offer lessons/classes.

5. Many community arts organizations offer lessons on a sliding scale so be sure to ask (click on "Member Schools" to see if there are classes offered near you).
Many communities have museums where you and your child can look at art of different kinds. If you don't know of any museums, browse through an art store or gallery just so your child can enjoy seeing a variety of different artistic expression. Feel free to ask museum or store personnel to tell you about the particular works of art you are seeing. Museums often offer special events and classes at free or reduced rates.

6. Check out a book from the library introducing your child to the visual arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and more. Knowing what others have done in an art form can inform and inspire your child as they participate in the same activity.

7. Check out books from the library that tell stories about visual artists, dancers, actors, and musicians. This will introduce your child to the arts and help them feel like they "know" various artists.

8. Encourage your child to read both "classic" and modern books. Compare the styles: how are they similar and how are they different in terms of subject matter and style of writing?

9. Help your child understand art forms that were developed by people of your own racial or ethic heritage. Or talk about family members that had a particular talent or interest in an art form; maybe Grandpa loved to sing or Uncle John was a good storyteller. Ask them what art form they enjoy doing the most and encourage them to do it.

10. Visit Here.

(11. Watch A Love Song for Bobby I am tonight! Based on the book Off Magazine Street....Sarah Ashley Longshore's stomping grounds! Trailer here.)

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