CMW's first Family Night, on November 20, was a big step forward for our ongoing evaluation project--and it was also a fun evening for all involved! About fifty parents, students, and siblings gathered at the Met School to enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving pizza dinner, and to engage in some colorful arts and crafts work. The activities, designed by Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, included a large family tree featuring each family member's involvement in creative activities, and a diagram of the family's weekly involvement in CMW and other musical endeavors. Keep your eyes open for some of the products of the evening to appear in the CMW office starting in mid-December!
-Chloe Kline, Writing Coordinator
Photos by Jori Ketten.
On Monday morning, Sebastian and I were up before dawn to catch a train to New York City to visit The Academy. As part of their professional development seminar series, we were invited to present about Community MusicWorks to participants in the post-graduate fellowship program jointly sponsored by The Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall, and the Weill Institute.
WIth everyone sitting in a large circle in Carnegie Hall's 6th floor Kaplan Space, Sebastian presented a compelling and detailed summary of Community MusicWorks' growth over eleven years, including the inspiration he drew from philospher Maxine Greene's writings, his realization early on that the goals he had set forth would take much longer than one year to begin to achieve, and his relief to learn of the "third year slump" at a talk given by anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath.
In the second half of the morning seminar, Sebastian guided the ACJW fellows through a kinesthetic excerise about "aligning interests." Through role-playing, this was an opportunity to see how a project can take shape by building alliances that work for all parties involved (without "pretzeling" to achieve one's goals).
[Exiting Carnegie Hall through the entrance to the Weill Recital Hall brought back memories of the last time CMW had been on the premises.]
Because our 3 pm meeting at Juilliard was canceled, we were free to enjoy ourselves for several hours before catching the train back to Providence, including visiting the Apple Store, the Petrossian Cafe, the Joan Miro exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, and my personal favorite, lunch at Le Pain Quotidien (Thanks Rachel!).
-Heath Marlow, CMW staff
Dear CMW folks,
My visits to Community MusicWorks are always the most inspiring and endorphin-rushing experiences of the year, and on these visits, I actually look forward to trekking up I-95. This past visit was the perfect antecedent to the spirit of Thanksgiving week.
From Sebastian’s big bear hug welcoming us at the first rehearsal, to Fred’s generous hospitality at our farewell meal, and all the jovial banter and enthusiastic music-making in between, the CMW Bach and Britten weekend is one that will stay in my memory for many years to come.
My highlights of the weekend were:
Thank you, CMW, for inspiring all of us and for keeping it real.
[Editor's note: Tina is the founder of Music Haven]
Tools, Terms, and Thought: Empowering Community Schools of the Arts
“Help, my brain (and stomach) is full!” This was my overwhelming thought last Sunday as I boarded the plane on the way home from Philadelphia, PA, where Adrienne, Rachel and I attended the Conference for Community Arts Education hosted by the mid-Atlantic chapter of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.
This conference brought hundreds of representatives of community arts schools from across the country together to share, explore, learn, and reflect on ideas that can help improve and increase arts learning in our country. As a young participant with only a year and a half of experience as a professional in the community arts arena, I was wide-eyed and hungry for new knowledge. It was striking to see so many other professionals—executive directors, board members, teaching artists, coordinators and researchers—also ravenous for new tools and thoughts to fuel and energize their own organizations. Not surprisingly, our collective appetite for ideas and yummy food (e.g. Philly cheese steaks) was satisfied at this conference.
On a practical level, this conference has helped me add to my “essentials toolbox” of professional knowledge:
I also learned some really cool terms that are new to me and shed some additional light on everything that we do as community arts organizations:
Dennie Palmer Wolf and CMW Fellows also had the opportunity to speak about Community MusicWorks in the session “Building Creative Capital: A New Way of Looking at Effectiveness.” Rachel spoke beautifully and at length about the ways Community MusicWorks cultivates sustained creative capital pathways. Adrienne offered keen insight on the intricate and symbiotic “learning layers” within our organization, and I gave a brief testimonial on “How the Fellowship has Changed my Life” and opened my eyes to endless possibilities and variations of making a meaningful musical career.
When I attend any discussion, training, seminar, or an extensive conference such as this one, I always try to extract one or two key “zingers”—simple and significant thoughts or ideas that I can carry near and dear to my heart as I go forward in my work.
From the keynote address, to “The Art of the Ask,” to strategic planning/thinking, to assessment, to higher education partnerships, one command was clear—we need to listen. Before knowing and asserting what we can do as community arts organizations, we must work to listen to and ascertain the needs and values of the community we serve and the individuals within that community.
Zing and hooray!
-Arlyn Valencia, Fellow 07-09