Tag Archives: arts education

2016: Summer of Water!

Last week, Garden of Fire partners met at The Rockwell Museum to finalize many details about programming and discussed aspects of this year’s theme of WATER. 

We are all very excited to be flowing into year three of this wonderful program for youth in our area . Water is essential to the existence of life and can be a great symbol of the relationship between all living things.

More than half of the human body is composed of water and about 71% of planet earth is water. Water can move through just about anything and over time can carve canyons.

Drop by drop, little by little, in the lives of children and teens who participate in the program, we hope to help open a stream of expression through the arts and a sense of wonder through the science that can move through their entire lives.

Participants can look forward to many water-themed projects and programs. For example, as the youth centers grow their gardens, they’ll work with Tanglewood Nature Center and learn about how crucial water is for gardens to grow, and how plants adapt to different climates based on availability of water in their natural habitat.IMG_8341

At The Rockwell, students will make their own Clay Animal Garden Sculptures, created with symbolism meant to protect and grow their garden. With CareFirst, students will make their own rain sticks in conjunction with reflection on internal growth.

We are so excited to launch this summer’s program – it can’t come soon enough! Look for the full summer schedule coming soon. Until then….

 

Gigi1
Gigi Alvare, Director of Education

The Rockwell Museum

Summer Changes Everything: Garden of Fire to Present at Baltimore Conference

2015 Conf badge-presenterI am very pleased to be presenting at the 12th Annual National Summer Learning Association Conference. This year’s conference theme, Renewing the Promise and Purpose of Learning, celebrates the joy of learning, the perfect tie-in with our own Garden of Fire Summer Program.

I, Gigi Alvaré , Director of Education at The Rockwell Museum, will travel to Baltimore to present with my colleagues Emily Hofelich-Bowler and Alli Lidie; we’ll present on how networking and collaboration can spark innovation in summer programming.

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Gigi Alvaré, Director of Education at The Rockwell Museum, reads the Garden of Fire story during the first summer session

Our presentation, entitled Garden of Fire: Reaping the Rewards of Community Networking Through a Joint Summer Program, will highlight how several organizations and programs came together in a rural community to create a rich summer program for youth. The Garden of Fire was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant after the first summer of programming.

The session will give context to the Garden of Fire collaboration with an opening discussion, led by Alli Lidie, Deputy Director and White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow of AfterSchool Works! NY: the New York State Afterschool Network (ASW:NYSAN). Alli will speak about the structure for regional after-school networks in New York State that bring together both after-school and summer providers in their communities. The Garden of Fire program grew out of the relationships formed through network participation, and through work with The Triangle Fund, a funder and member of the network. The session will also touch on work done by other regional networks in New York.

Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center
Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center, presents her owl friend to students

The Garden of Fire is a project conceived collaboratively by local organizations whose purpose is to build capacity, depth and the integration of art and science for programs serving at-risk youth in Steuben County, New York. Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center, will speak about networking with the local school districts to optimize resources, and how incorporating state-wide learning initiatives (STEM) as part of the program gave the summer program more leverage and legitimacy in asking for school support.

By providing programming led by professional artists and educators held in museums, gardens, and fields, the local community and region opens up to students who otherwise might have very limited opportunities. It is our hope that the model program we have collectively created will spark the imagination and action of other communities to build their own Gardens of Fire.

Together we can care for our most precious gifts: the earth itself and the children who live on it. 

Gigi1Gigi Alvaré
Director of Education
The Rockwell Museum

The Power of Play

Last Saturday morning, as I stepped outside, I was overwhelmed by the smell of summer. I thought to myself, “I wait all year just for this.”

As a child, I loved the freedom of summer, endless days with friends and play, and very little structure. Free time is so important for kids. It provides a space for creativity and connectedness.

The Garden of Fire Programs prides itself on offering educational, artful activities that participants would not experience in the regular classroom.
The Garden of Fire Programs prides itself on offering educational, artful activities that participants would not experience in the regular classroom.

As adults, we also know that children lose many of the skills they achieve in the school year when they are away from a learning environment. Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are especially in danger of losing basic math, science, reading and writing skills in the summer.

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Journal

Garden of Fire provides programming that balances those competing needs.  While keeping children tuned into math, science, and writing, it also provides a space for playfulness and creativity. The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes and our partners are thrilled to have been a part of this innovative program.

Dr. Constance Sullivan-Blum
Executive Director
The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

The Life Cycle of the Chicken

This week’s Garden of Fire adventures were held at the CareFirst facility and centered around symbology, and how kids can connect to a symbol to represent themselves.

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At first the kids sat silent, not sure what symbology meant, but  as the discussion went on, on students found ways to connect.  Across the board, the favorite symbols were spirals and trees.

One of the students chose the spiral to represent the life cycle during the decorating of the flags.  He asked me as he drew:  “Can I do the lifecycle of the chicken?”  He then explains the egg, the chick, the chicken and a blank section… fried chicken.  I pause, and of course giggle a little, not sure how to respond.

It may offend some, as we all make choices in what we eat and many choose not to eat meat.  We talk a bit more and he tells of the chickens his family raises for eggs and meat.  This is how he and his family choose to live and it’s wonderful to be grateful for the meat and truly understand the sacrifices and not just go to the store to pick up a package. leespearyphoto300care1st-35

I tell this story because Garden of Fire is a place where these students can be themselves.  They are not being judged or having to fit into the preverbial box.  These symbols represent him and his family.

One of the goals on the program is to teach gardening and science.  If more children had the experience of really knowing where all their food came from, and the work that is put into a simple slice of bread, our world would be a better place.

Emily Hofelich
Executive Director
Friends of the Addison Youth Center, Inc.