Tag Archives | community arts

A Daring Adventure: Artists and teachers partner for school reform

Here’s a link to story I wrote for High Performance #71, Spring 1996. I spent several a week with a residency at O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester, Mass., conducted by musician Philip Aaberg in November 1995. The residency was part of a year-long program called “Take a Flying Leap,” designed by teachers at O’Maley along with Celeste Miller & Co. (a local dance organization) and the Gloucester Stage Company (a community theater) in an effort to make art, in all its facets, part of education and life experience for the children of Gloucester. The story is accompanied by sidebars on the Coalition for Essential Schools, 23 Questions from teachers that artists can help answer, an example of a Student Assessment Questionnaire and a quick glance at educational reform.

The story resides in the archive of the Community Arts Network on the Internet.

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A More Perfect Union

Here’s a link to “A Perfect Union,” a story I wrote for American Theatre in December 2002. It tells of a great theater project in rural Union County, Ga. It was based on stories gathered across generations and races, told and performed by the people of the county. It resides in the Community Arts Network archive on the Internet.

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Swappin’ Lies in Miller County: The Story of Swamp Gravy

Here’s a link to a story I wrote for Atlanta Art Papers in 1994 (Vol. 18, No.5) about Swamp Gravy, a remarkable community-based theater project that began in Miller County, Georgia, in 1991. It was a collaboration among Community Performance Inc. (CPI) and the citizens of Miller County. Using CPI writer Jo Carson’s method of gathering local stories from every level of county society and crafting them into a script, then adding Geer’s creative direction with music and movement, Miller County inaugurated “Swamp Gravy” in an old cotton warehouse in Colquitt in 1994.

Performed by 70 Miller County residents, the play became so popular that it was dubbed Georgia’s Official Folklife Play, attracting busloads of audience members from the state and beyond. Each year a new play is written out of local experience and performed by Colquitt’s butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. It has been successful beyond the collaborators’ wildest dreams and has turned the local economy around. A rickety venture that started with seed money of $2,000 now has a million-dollar budget, owns its own building and is the largest employer in Miller County.

This story, commissioned by Art Papers, was republished (with permission) in 1999 on the Community Arts Network. It resides in the CAN archive on the Web.

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LAPD Inspects Raleigh

Here’s a link to a story I wrote for Atlanta Art Papers in 1994 about the Los Angeles Poverty Department and its residency in Raleigh, North Carolina. The performance troupe of homeless and formerly homeless people works on Skid Row in L.A., but is often on the road, examining the issues of poverty in other cities. This story covers their February 1994 residency in Raleigh, during which the troupe met and collaborated with homeless people in that city, and looks at the culminating performance at City Gallery. The story was republished (with permission from Art Papers) on the Community Arts Network in 1999 and is located in the CAN archive on the Web.

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