Addison Hall is one of the five sites that the Hill House Summer arts project is placing artists. The hall serves the surrounding housing project and contains a gym and several classrooms. I would estimate that there were about forty children on the grounds on Tuesday when I visited with Rhonda Battl.
Denise Lewis has worked as an artist in this program for a couple years. She has brought dance programs to students in other programs in Pittsburgh. A wonderful dancer, Denise was instantly able to engage a group of small boys in exploring movement and creating an improvisational dance performance. I was a little sceptical when I saw the students assigned to her, thinking that it was going to be tough to get these energetic little boys interested in dance. She pulled them in by incorporating their own inclinations and showing them how to coordinate their movements.
Biko was working with another group of students in one of the second-floor classrooms. His project, which is also part of the Find the Rivers project, incorporates the Sankofa adinkra symbol. Here, the students are in the final stages of creating a plaque that incorporates the Sankofa with images of renowned black figures.
Christine Bethea and Brenda Bethea-Brown have taken their Suessville on the Hill project to three of the five sites that the Hill House is serving with this program. At Addison, the artists were working with middle-school aged children, examing and playing with the traditional camp song A Sailor went to Sea. It was great fun listening to the childrens suggestions about changing the lyrics, developing accompanying gestures and insisting on singing a spanish version when no one in the room knew more than a couple words of the language.