Sunday, July 23, 2006
Summer arts on the Hill - week one
The first full week of the Summer arts projects on the Hill is over and the second week is about to begin. On Thursday, I went to one of the sites, the YMCA on Centre (pictured above), to check in with the artists and the children in the ACE program.
Kim Ellis, who performs as Dr. Goddess, had the students completely in her thrall. They were playing a rhyming game, with finger-snapping, hand-clapping and laughter. All of the children had been writing poetry with Kim for the last three days and were working on spoken word performances. A very enjoyable experience for me as well as the children.
The YMCA does not have air-conditioning and Pittsburgh has been meltingly hot this past week. Even leaving the lights off in the room did not help much in relieving the heat.
The other group of ACE children were meeting with Maritza Mosquera. Maritza took the children a river tour, where they took phots and made some drawings that she has since turned into coloring books. She will be producing these books for the Find the Rivers project that the Hill House has organized.
While I was waiting for Maritza, the students and I got into a discussion about what they had seen on the river. They all seemed to be enjoying their experience with Maritza.
There were a few glitches during the first week, with confusion about which artist was working with which group at the five sites involved in the summerts program. But I have never seen a program of this size go smoothly right out of the door. This is the first year that the Hill house has taken the summer arts program off of its own campus to partner with other community organizations on the Hill. And no matter what else happens or doesn't happen over the next three weeks, the children so far have been engaged and are eager to work/play with the artists.