Power of Culture Blog
During the first year of the pandemic, CYD groups throughout Massachusetts pivoted their operations rapidly to maintain and deepen connections with young people.
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Although schools still face pandemic-related challenges, teaching artists, scientists, and scholars continue to work to bring creative learning to Massachusetts students during their school day. To support this important work, Mass Cultural Council is awarding $1,158,550 in STARS Residencies grants to 244 schools across the Commonwealth for the 2021-2022 school year.
STARS Residencies support Mass Cultural Council’s goal of empowering a creative generation.
These STARS Residencies will bring the arts, sciences, and/or humanities to more than 24,300 students in communities across the state. The residencies also provide paid work for more than 129 teaching artists, scientists, and/or scholars, many of whom still experience economic hardships as a result of the pandemic.
The range of residencies that schools and cultural partners will be providing for students are as multi-faceted as any other school year. Some examples include:
Lowell: Joseph G. Pyne School, “Functional Pottery of Cambodia” residency with Cambodian ceramicist Yary Livan
Students grades 3-8 will learn about Cambodian culture and ceramics through the personal story and art of master Cambodian ceramicist Yary Livan and his connection to the Cambodian and Southeast Asian Community of Lowell. Students will learn how to create functional wares native to ancient and contemporary Cambodia and then create their own ceramic pieces inspired by Cambodian designs. In a final exhibition, they will share their work with the community and families in a final exhibition.
Shrewsbury: Al-Hamra Academy, “Imagination Station” residency with teaching artist Faye Dupras
Using storytelling, puppetry, music, and art-making, this residency will deepen understanding and application of the social emotional skills needed to recognize and celebrate diversity for 70 K-Grade 1 students with teaching artist Faye Dupras. A main goal is to infuse students with a healthy dose of joy and wonder as they practice kindness, empathy, equity, and fairness. Throughout the residency, students develop and deepen their capacity to be good friends, kind classmates, and active agents of change in their communities.
Truro: Truro Central School, “Global Migrators” residency with Mass Audubon educators Spring Beckhorn and David Shapiro
This school residency brings two Truro Central School grades together with Mass Audubon to study adaptations, migration, nesting, and conservation efforts for endangered and threatened species that depend on Cape Cod waters and habitats, with a focus on shorebirds and sea turtles. A goal of the program is for students to gain an appreciation and understanding of their role in protecting Cape Cod’s wildlife through hands-on and inquiry-based lessons and field investigations to view animals in the wild. Students create illustrated fiction stories, informational posters, and educational signs to share their learning.
Chicopee: Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, “Truth Be Told: Arts, Community Building, Social Justice” residency with teaching artist Julie Lichtenberg of The Performance Project
9-12th grade English Language Learner classes will create a multilingual performance, exploring personal experiences and social justice themes. A goal is for students to understand the value and importance of their own voice. Students will also be exposed to the concept of cultural activism: how theater and the arts can be used to engage audiences in thinking and talking about issues that affect all our lives and encourage people to connect their personal experiences with broader global issues.
Boston: East Boston High School, “Art Room Poets” residency with Kadahj Bennett of ZUMIX
400 freshmen will embark on a creative learning experience that is not confined by the rules of conventional grammar and syntax to increase their skills in communication, creativity, literacy, and social connection. Guest teaching artists will visit classes to show students how poetry and literature can lead to successful career paths. All students will have the opportunity to share their work with their classmates at the end of the residency both in-class and through the 94.9 ZUMIX Radio station, where all student’s work is played for the public. Each poem will be compiled into a poetry journal at the end of the class.
Mass Cultural Council is pleased to be able to fund all eligible STARS Residencies this year, made possible by the Massachusetts Legislature through its record-level of investment in the cultural sector in the FY22 state budget. We thank our partners on Beacon Hill, as well as participating schools and teaching artists, who make STARS Residencies possible.