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From Lisa – Art is Great and So Should We Be

November 27, 2013

Students participating in the Building Bridges theatre program, fall 2013.

Last Thursday, Touchstone finished up four arts-in-education residencies – two Building Bridges programs and two Young Playwrights’ Programs. Building Bridges Theatre culminated with 16 students performing theatre games, mask work, and original scenes for a gymnasium full of classmates, teachers, administrators, and family. Building Bridges Media found 10 students listening to songs they’d written produced by Artistic Director Jp and watching the newscast film they and their teachers starred in edited by Apprentice Mallory deForest. The two Young Playwrights’ Lab (YPL) sessions closed with teaching artists performing all the student-written plays over the course of the residency for the students, teachers, administrators, and family.

It’s rare that we all finish on one day, but the stars aligned! And the energy in the office between 2:30 & 3pm on Thursday was electric – that’s the transition time between Bridges (the in-school program) and YPL (the after-school program). The sound of the photocopier working overtime as the last scripts and certificates were printed, alongside the shouts of a favorite play or play titles like “The Best Play Ever” or “Great Friends and Great Times, or Fun is because of Friends” intermixed with stories of favorite Building Bridges moments and quotes like the title above “Art is great and so should we be”. It was a fun half hour, a bonding time for us all as we shared the successes of the day and anticipation for the afternoon.

???????????????????????????????As soon as I heard the quote above, I fell in love with it. Grammatically not the best sentence, but the sentiment is perfect. Art IS great. It can do powerful things on stage and certainly in the classroom as we often witness. And so should we be. I see the Touchstone team continually try to BE GREAT and often times excel through the success of a student. A story I heard the next day from Kyle demonstrated this: a YPL student’s parents came to see the play reading the day before and were shocked to see that their child, whose second language is English, had written a play, was interacting with his peers, and had excelled in the program.

I love stories like this and all the ones I experienced myself or hear throughout the office. It makes the days when you think you’ve made no progress or are really behind on office work and could use the time to finish up GREAT and totally worth it.

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