Tag Archives: collaboration

A Friendly Plug

We were so pleased to have the Southeast Steuben County Library participate in this year’s Garden of Fire Festival.

Partner in art, Erica Unterman, is an art adventurer currently disguised as a Youth Specialist at the public library.  She designs programs for children of all ages.

For the Garden of Fire Festival she offered something super unique and FUN: squirt gun painting!

Read all about it on the “Teen Tones” blog!>>

Youth Center Update: Hornell Area Concern for Youth

How do you put a value on something as great as the Garden of Fire!?

Our kids absolutely love it!  I must be honest,  I (Paul Shephard, Director of Hornell Area Concern for Youth) have never attempted a blog before but I feel compelled to make it more of a thank you to all involved.

For our agency to be associated with such a wonderful museum as The Rockwell is just so exciting for our staff and our kids! Amy Ruza and  Gigi Alvaré are such a pleasure to work with and have such a great way of connecting with our kids. The initial intro in which Gigi read her story and Amy added the sound effects is always great, and the way they involved the kids as animal characters was awesome.  Then, of course Ian Mclaughlin from Tanglewood bringing in his many animals and educating our kids on this years’ theme  of water was frosting on the cake.

Our kids loved the trip to The Rockwell for the clay animal sculpture project as well. They all commented on loving the messiness of it and how relatively easy it was to sculpt their animals with Amy’s direction.  I tried to make my sculpture in the shape of a buffalo as I am a big Bills fan but the final product resembled some sort of psychotic rabbit… at least I tried!

I would also like to put a “shout out” to Tara Chapman who came to our Canisteo location for the Rain Stick project. She was a great sport to put up with my music and disco lighting for the event… the kids loved her and enjoyed making their own personal rain stick !!   They all made great rain sticks that made beautiful rain noises when used… whereas mine ended up sounding more like a cat in a tornado.

Our trip out to Tanglewood was also very enjoyable. Ian took us on hikes and showed us the many animals there.  The kids loved the Bee presentation, though the giant turtle was their favorite. A big thanks to Sue Spencer for the engaging drum circle that day as well. Our kids stood up and danced like crazy, and Sue never skipped a beat. Well done !

Finally, last week, we took the bus to CareFirst for a natural elements building session with Tony Moretti and Gwen Quigley. They were true professionals, and inspired our kids into making a 7-foot tall water sculpture made from tree bark, branches and other forms of nature in which the water would travel. It reminded me of the old board game Mouse Trap… does that show my age?? The kids were able to saw, hammer, glue and paint their way to the finished product. Many of them said how proud they were to have structured something so massive.

As usual the summer has gone by soooooo swiftly. We are looking forward to the final celebration this Friday!

WindTunnel4Paul Shephard (That’s me on the right!)
Hornell Area Concern for Youth

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.

Vocab

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