Young at Art – Meet the Teachers

Each summer, ACA welcomes its smallest campers to the Young at Art, a morning camp for 4-5 year olds.  This year, we have three new enthusiastic and energetic teachers for our young campers.  We are excited to welcome Robert, Shooka and Ashley – read more about them below!

Young at Art runs in weekly sessions through Labor Day, come join us!

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For the past ten years, Robert Rogers and his students of all ages have tromped through forests, zoos, museums, and even classrooms making music, theater, and mayhem. But gentle mayhem. Good mayhem. One afternoon, his students watched a goat give birth. They composed a song of celebration on the spot and marched it to all four corners of the farm. When indoors, Robert can be found writing plays and directing musicals for children, and performing lead roles in community theater and musicals. He graduated from the Kennedy Center Training Program for Emerging Playwrights as well as the American Conservatory and Asolo Conservatory Theater residency programs. Robert holds an MFA in Playwriting for Young Audiences from Lesley University and is Early Childhood Certified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

He loves to skate, ski, and skimboard. Alas, despite years of training and a Masters degree in mathematics, he remains incurably silly.

 

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“Music, life and enjoyment are three inseparable concepts!”  That is the basis of Shooka Afshar’s philosophy of music.  Kids in Shooka’s classes learn to open their ears to music and harmony and to experience the power of music.   She teaches rhythm, toddler tunes, group dancing and other fun activities, all using the Dacrozian Methods, through which students use movement to learn about music.

Shooka herself fell in love with music and performing at an early age.  She watched her first classical concert on a vhs at the age four and instantly decided to become an opera singer.  She started learning piano by ear and never stopped performing.

Shooka was awarded her BA and then completed her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at Longy School of Music. In addition to teaching in schools and the Community Music Center of Boston, Shooka also teaches flute, piano and voice to individual students.

 

AshleyYarnellAshley Yarnell has been performing all over the New England area since a very young age, and made her professional debut at the Publick Theatre Boston at the age of 12. Since then she has continued to pursue her love of music and all things theatrical, completing her BFA in Musical Theatre from the renowned Pace University in New York City, where she was able to partake in Master Classes with such industry names as: Jack O’Brien, Joanna Gleason, David Stone, Stephen Flaherty, Michael Greif, Victoria Clark, Jerry Mitchell, Adam Guettel, Donna Drake, Curtil Holbrook, Lonny Price, and Bob Cline. She has also performed professionally with: Rachel York, Patrick Cassidy, Lee Meriwether, and dance icon Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Following undergraduate study, Ashley decided to branch out from the musical theatre world of performing and into the world of teaching and contemporary music. She completed graduate coursework in Vocal Pedagogy, Jazz Vocals, World Music, Choral Conducting, and General Music Education at the University of Massachusetts. Since graduating in 2008, she has built up a plethora of students throughout the New England area and is extremely excited to be teaching in the very town she grew up in and inspired her love and desire for a musical life. An avid composer/lyricist as well, Ashley is looking to continue to perform and write for the live rock/blues/acoustic scene.

 

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“Wizzards of Their Own Futures” – ACA’s littlest campers get magical at arts camp for pre-schoolers

Cute Alert…!  Art teacher and guest blogger Diem Dangers gives us a peek into the “Young at Art” room during Magic Week at ACA Summer Arts Camp.  Our littlest campers (ages 4-5) had a blast making magic hats, crystal balls, and thinking all about magic!

Diem Dangers (standing) leads the Young at Art pre-K camper in a magical week of art-making and creative fun!

Crystal Ball Project
The purpose of the crystal ball project was to allow the students to think about how to express the future visually. Over

Story Time during Young at Art – firing up the campers’ imaginations with tales of wizards and magic!

the course of the week, we read about magic and wizardry in a variety of storybooks such as: Anton Does Magic, The Magic Raincoat, The Magic Toolbox, Word Wizard, The Magic Babushka, The Dream Jar, Possum Magic, and The Wizard. We also sang “Down By the Castle” (an adaptation of “Down By the Sea” with lyrics that related to the magic theme of this week’s class) with Alex Fenn, our music teacher. We used these stories and songs to inspire conversations about what magic means, what crystal balls are and how they can reveal the future. The students were then asked to create their own crystal ball that would show what would happen in their future.

A magic crystal ball in the making…

It was a fun open-ended exploratory project, giving the little artists plenty of fun textures to play around with and discover including: glitter, felt, construction paper, pipe cleaners, paint, fuzzy woolen balls, crayons, paint, and cut-out photos from magazines for collage. As the week progressed, we also explored adding little pop-out windows to add extra depth and new dimensions to the piece. The students used these little pop-out windows to create entryways to secret passages to the future, and to cover up secret hidden treasures.

I loved how each student produced something totally unique, each interpreting the assignment in their own special way.

Young at Art campers in action, working on their Crystal Ball projects.

Some did landscapes of the future, others did visual stories of their daily lives in the future and their expected careers, others captured futuristic people they would meet. Some did a complex collage of various people, places and objects capturing various different people, times and spaces into one whole. Some kept within the confines of the “crystal ball”, others chose to “think outside the box” allowing their imaginations to wonder all over the page. I was surprised and impressed by such creative, unusual and unexpected arrangements of colors, objects and textures! They certainly have my enthusiastic support for this kind of exploration! After all, the value of creating art comes from what they learn through the exploratory process as much as it does making an end product.

During music time with music teacher Alex Fenn, the kids sang songs about magic, and made some special musical magic of their own, playing with percussion instruments

As an art teacher, I see myself as someone who creates conditions that inspires students to come up with their own ideas for making art that has meaning for them.  I like art projects that stimulate student’s imaginations, encouraging them to think independently for themselves about what they are creating and expressing. For me, children’s art is as valuable in and of itself, and is not to be compared to adult art or considered of lesser developmental quality.

Show-and-Tell

One young camper with his finished Crystal Ball project

At the end of the week, students had the opportunity to share their crystal balls with the rest of the class. I see my students as fellow artists, and take them seriously when they describe their pieces and what they are expressing. I was so impressed by the students’ willingness to explain what their art meant to them, ask questions of others, and engage in conversation with each other. In the process of participating in this activity, they had the opportunity to define what their art meant to them. They were understanding of how different colors, textures and shapes can be used to visually represent the future.

Here is a short video of Emil describing his crystal ball and answering classmates’ questions about it.

Wizard Hats.

Towards the end of the week, we made wizard hats covered in traditional stars and moons and other creative designs. The wizard hats gave the whole Show-and-Tell activity a theatrical feel and added to the magic of the crystal balls. The little artists presented their piece not just as themselves, but as themselves as wizards of their own futures!

Show and Tell time, when each camper presented their crystal ball project, with everyone wearing their magic hats!

 

More Photos!
See more photos from our week, in our online slideshow.

More info:
for more information about ACA’s Young at Art program, visit our website.