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Masterpieces, ofrendas, didgeridoos and a crazy violinist…

November 1, 2009

One of my personal goals for the year has been to spend more time in the middle school circles that launch the day for the 6th through 8th grade students.  On Thursday morning, I was reminded why.    I joined in two fabulous conversations as the students detailed the experiences they had enjoyed on arts’ field trips the previous day.

By chance, the school had the opportunity to set up two marvelous trips last Wednesday and buses rolled up in the morning to take 90% of our student body off to either the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or The Guthrie.

At the MIA, under the leadership of Sarah and Lori, the students had a chance to take in a visual arts treat, as well as anArTech 002 opportunity to take in a cultural experience to support the Spanish classes.    Sarah had eye-balled the opportunity for students to visit The Louvre and The Masterpiece exhibition.   Follow the link to see some of the art work that the students enjoyed.   I was particularly intrigued by this trip as I have fond memories of visiting Paris and The Louvre as an impressionable teenager. Paris, of course, is a mite more accessible to a Manchester lad than it is for our Minnesota teens so this was a good chance for the students to see some of the world’s most famous art right in our backyard.  

Lori’s interest in the MIA trip was driven more by the opportunity to see The Young Peoples’ Ofrenda Project.  Students from El Colegio, a Minneapolis charter school, had partnered with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to create ofrendas, the Spanish word for offerings related to Day of the Dead ceremonies.   The exhibition is on display until November 15 and is, of course, free to the public.    In the Purple advisory, I was part of a very powerful conversation led by Lori and Todd that explored the ways different cultures honor those who have died.  The students shared their thoughts and experiences with a openness and sincerity that was quite touching.

Bob is our key coordinator for the Arts Calendar and he had happened upon an opportunity that was too good to miss at The Guthrie.  Northern Lights/Southern Cross was the name of the show.  From what I could gather, the show was a real cross-cultural affair, combining dance, gospel, music, story-telling and comedy.  The play was written by Minnesota’s Kevin Kling.  

The most enjoyable aspect of listening to students of the Green Advisory talk about this show was the way they had all been moved or entertained by a different aspect of the performance.   Apparently, the didjeridu was not to be missed!

If that wasn’t enough, a week ago, group of students went to the Children’s Theater to witness The Mayhem Poets in action.  The show trip served up a tasty appetizer for  the Diego Vazquez Poetry Residency that is coming to ARTech at the beginning of December.  Talking to some of the high school students who were at the show, I truly got the sense that The Mayhem Poets might have challenged some of their pre-conceptions about the place of poetry in the performing arts.   The “crazy” violinist who accompanied the artists also struck a chord (pun intended)!

Sadly, I missed out on all three trips, but nonetheless it was a delight to hear the students enthuse about the different experiences.   It takes time and effort to organize these trips.  A big thank you goes out to all the staff who put them together, advisors who adjusted schedules and seminars to accomodate them, and the parent chaperones who helped out.


One Comment leave one →
  1. November 3, 2009 3:28 am

    Lucky kids to have teachers willing to organize such great opportunities. Wow.

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