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Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!

by Story Tapestries Inc.
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Virtual Classroom: Multi-literacy tools for all!
Scarf activity play kit with music CD
Scarf activity play kit with music CD

Educators, artists, after-school program leaders take note: Story Tapestries has scarf activity kits available on our website! These are an awesome tool for group play activities both indoors and outdoors. More products will be available soon, so be sure to check out the new online shop as well as resources and tools available for free. The dream of our Virtual Classroom is coming true, piece by piece - THANK YOU!

***

As we enter a new academic year, there are inevitably mixed emotions. Story Tapestries is excited to return to schools such as Neelsville Middle School and Montgomery Village Middle School where we are partnering with other local nonprofits to make a deep impact on the students who are struggling. We recognize that while many families have spent the summer participating in camps, traveling on vacation, reading books, playing outside and shopping for the new year's backpack, clothes and more - far too many families have not been able to enjoy these same activities. Some children are ashamed and embarassed to use the same backpack as last year. While we are not in the business of providing backpacks, the work that we are doing is ensuring that this cycle of disparity comes to an end, and that in the meantime that child with less than another still comes to the classroom with the same possibilities for learning and succeeding, without fear or shame. In arts integrated lessons, teachers engage their students by leading exercises that use their voices, their bodies and their creative minds and encourages them to share in multiple ways - verbally, in writing, in drawings, in song, multimedia and more. This allows the educator to cross barriers of language, for example, and creates avenues for every student to participate fully and learn to their greatest capacity. This is what arts integration is all about and it's the kind of work we are committed to providing at low to no cost thanks to the support of believers like you.

We are excited to share that one of our nation's most important arts institutions, The Kennedy Center, supports this principle in learning and has extended their vision as a performance and arts education organization even farther to embrace the concept of flexibility and providing artists in the DC community what they need. In the works since 2013, the Kennedy Center is opening its state-of-the-art all-purpose arts facility, the REACH, this September. Designed by renowned architect, Steven Holl, the new building, dubbed “the REACH,” doesn’t have a definition. It isn’t an opera house. It isn’t a nightclub, a performing arts school, a theater or concert hall—yet all the art forms traditionally housed in such places will likely find fresh vitality within its walls. The REACH is a blank slate. And that’s by design. Robert van Leer, Senior VP of Programming for the Kennedy Center, told writer Noel Morris, "The role of community is a big part of this.Creating studios, rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and free access for the public offers a different possibility of relevance fort he community at large."

To kick off the opening of this new multi-purpose space, the Kennedy Center is hosting a myriad of events as part of their Opening Festival from September 7-22. Story Tapestries' Founder and Executive Director, Arianna Ross, will be performing at opening day on September 7. You can participate in any of the more than 500 free events being hosted. Access the festival by getting your own free timed-entry pass here! Find out more about the REACH Opening Festival events from September 7-22 by clicking here. If you live in the area, we hope to see you there!

While this is an exciting event and we are very proud to be part of it, we also remember those children we mentioned that are headed to their first day of school without the basic tools that will support their learning. If you're doing back to school shopping, consider adding an item from our Amazon Wish List and by using AmazonSmile you'll not only provide materials that we'll utilize in artist-in-residency and after-school programs to make sure every student has what they need, you'll also be giving a percentage of your purchase back to Story Tapestries so we can provide more programs at low to no cost for the youth who need them the most.

Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #1
Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #1

As children shift from learning to read, to reading to learn, this essential skill provides the foundation that makes learning in any subject area possible - that's why it's so important to Story Tapestries to support building literacy skills.

On May 18, 2019, Story Tapestries continued its tradition of celebrating literacy and the power of story at the 10th annual Gaithersburg Book Festival.  We had well over 200 children and adults stop by our booth to create a piece of art, take a donated book home, and/or experience Arianna Ross' magical storytelling. It was also a great way to share with the community all the ways that Story Tapestries includes technology in the classroom through our Virtual Classroom space at www.storytapestries.org.

Every year, the creativity of young people touches our hearts. A few examples that readily come to mind are the siblings who drew the most beautiful, glittery butterflies fluttering toward brightly lit flower petals and the young man who shared his truth in a poem on our story quilt:

“Art is sport, sports are art.

Playing sports is the art in my life.

What is the art in your life?

Could it be reading, writing, or acting a scene?” 

Then there were countless adults whose joy filled our tent as they thumbed through our stacks of donated books, reliving their fondest childhood memories of the books they loved as kids. This is why I love returning to the Gaithersburg Book Festival year after year!

“The Gaithersburg Book Festival is a celebration of the written word and its power to enrich the human experience. Our mission is to foster an interest in reading, writing, and literary conversation.

Since its inception in 2010, the Festival has quickly become one of the nation’s top literary events, attracting hundreds of award-winning and best-selling authors, poets, and songwriters from across the country to its quaint, park-like setting in the heart of Olde Towne Gaithersburg.”

--Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019

We truly believe that the arts are a bridge to break down barriers while also becoming the foundation for building skills in other areas. Story Tapestries supports and strengthens neighborhoods by helping partners build self-sufficient, sustainable, arts-based programs for children, especially those in high-need areas. We believe that children should be at the center of any approach to creating a brighter future for our communities.  We have the greatest impact on children’s development when we involve those who support their growth: caregivers, educators, and school administrators, and especially community members.

In that spirit, in our community-driven initiative, Amplify Us! we provide workshops that teach community members how to tell their personal stories through spoken word and visual arts.

In fact, we wish to extend an invitation to two upcoming FREE public performances on June 20th and June 22nd at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD - for you and/or your loved ones in the Greater Washington Region.

Upcoming Events: Please join us if you are near Germantown, Maryland on June 20th and June 22nd, 2019

Experience funny, dramatic, and heart-wrenching true stories in these thought-provoking and entertaining performance events. Locally famous and Nationally renowned artists, Regie Cabico and Vijay Nathan, will share their lives with you through a documentary film, storytelling, slam poetry, and visual arts. In addition, local performers who have experienced an Amplify US! workshop will take the stage as well! To conclude, reflect upon the stories you hear guided by a professional facilitator, Carolyn Lowery.

Admission is FREE. Reservations are preferred, though tickets will be available at the door.

HOWEVER – we suggest you reserve today – last year’s event SOLD OUT!

For accessibility requests, call 301.916.6328

 

June 20th, 7pm at BlackRock Center for the Arts

Click Here for June 20th Reservations

June 22nd, 7pm at BlackRock Center for the Arts

Click Here for June 22nd Reservations

 

We hope to see you there and thank you for your continuous generous support!

 

Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #2
Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #2
Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #3
Gaithersburg Book Festival 2019 #3

Links:

Jamaal
Jamaal 'Mr. Root' Collier at Friendship PCS

Story Tapestries Teaching Artist, Jamaal 'Mr. Root' Collier


For the months of January and February, I had the pleasure of sharing and learning with the young scholars of Friendship Public Charter School at the Southeast Elementary branch. With Mr. Buffin, we focused on successfully co-creating rhyming couplets (raps) to explain how to find perimeter and area. In Ms. Baines class, we created rhyming poetry that spoke their personal perspective of their individual identity. Peer evaluations were also done to assess volume, artistic integrity, vocal clarity, and stage presence. The students were animated and excited to share EVERY DAY. It was an energizing experience and I look forward to returning.

Links:

Lorienne Beals, Development Director
Lorienne Beals, Development Director

"Our focus will remain equally strong on providing low- to no-cost programs that directly serve youth and the adults who interact with young people every day, while developing programs that are involving full communities. Any organization, city, town, or region that is struggling with issues of limited access to arts and education opportunities or with situations of diversity where differences are seen as barriers, are places where Story Tapestries can make an impact." Lorienne Beals, Development Director

 

 

Telling Stories, Weaving Change: A Conversation with Story Tapestries

Story Tapestries is a 501(c) non-profit located in Montgomery County, Maryland. Seeking to strengthen communities through the arts, they promote sustainable, integrated arts-based programs that provide an avenue for education and foster engagement with students of all ages and abilities. With a special focus on high-need communities, Story Tapestries is empowering, educating, and engaging their way to a better future.

As the organization charges headfirst into 2019, I had the honor of sitting down with Lorienne Beals, Story Tapestries’ Development Director, to briefly discuss her experiences and give us a glimpse into the past and future of ST’s programs and goals.

 

E: Hi, Lorienne, it’s so good to get this chance to sit down and talk with you. As the Development Director for Story Tapestries, you’ve got some great perspectives to offer on the the organization and its impact. To start, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from, and how did you end up working with Arianna (ST’s Founder) and Story Tapestries?

L: I grew up in Seneca Falls, NY - the birthplace of Women's Rights. In the fall of 2010 I moved to Severn, Maryland and met Arianna. She had just finished filing the application paperwork for Story Tapestries to become a 501c3. As a professional dancer and dance educator, the work of Story Tapestries immediately resonated with me. In addition, I had worked for years with the New York Institute of Dance and Education and the Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre before making the move to the greater DC area, and I was excited to find an organization that shared many of the same principles about helping people reach their fullest potential.

E: It sounds like you were already deeply invested in the arts and their place in education. What is it about Story Tapestries that drew/draws you in? Was there a specific aspect that caught your interest at first?

L: What I love about Story Tapestries is the collaborative approach to helping others come to recognize and celebrate their own abilities. We really use the arts as the vehicle to help people connect with one another, breaking down traditional barriers and unlocking the door to learning for thousands of students. There's nothing more rewarding than watching a student transform from being resistant, feeling isolated and angry, to realizing they not only can but want to participate and engage and share. What's even more powerful is watching a teacher who wants nothing more than to reach and assist their students finally feel like they've found new ways that really work for them to get their message across. The beauty of that is the teacher will then utilize these methods in every class they teach, reaching hundreds and even thousands of children in the course of their career. And normally, they're so excited about it that they share these concepts and techniques with their colleagues, too.

E: That’s very powerful - the impact goes way beyond one or two lessons and can have huge implications over time. These goals have a big “ripple effect,” it sounds like. There have been some truly groundbreaking programs headed by ST in the past few years, would you tell me a bit about your favorites?

L: I'm incredibly excited about the Amplify US! Initiative and the potential it has to be a catalyst for meaningful social change. We began working with partners in 2017 to meet about the issue of rising hate crimes in Montgomery County and to brainstorm about how arts programs might play a role in shifting those dynamics at the root of the problem. The task force that came together created a program design that piloted in 2018 with a series of free storytelling workshops provided for youth and adults across the county. Workshop participants were then given opportunities to share their stories in public performances at public libraries, the Strathmore Mansion, and Wheaton Arts Parade and Festival - sharing the stage with professional artists. The stories that have been told and the experiences shared have been beautiful, powerful, and heartfelt, and those who have participated thus far have acknowledged a shift in their perceptions, which is the core goal of these programs. This design is a model we are working to replicate on a larger scale in Montgomery County as well as bring to additional locations such as Prince George's County and beyond. While our in-school, after-school, and summer programs as well as professional development workshops are impacting academic performance, we know youth are most successful when they have a strong community supporting them, including mentors, caretakers and beyond. Therefore I feel the Amplify US! Initiative helps us really take a 360-degree approach to serving today's youth and ensuring a more colorful, fun, and unbiased tomorrow.

E: That’s amazing. Performance has a way of really bringing people out of themselves and into a more connected mode of expression, and it’s so wonderful that Story Tapestries is tapping into that and turning it into a vibrant experience for the people in our county. Where do you see ST hitting the hardest in the next few years? Where are programs like this needed the most in the USA?

L: Our focus will remain equally strong on providing low- to no-cost programs that directly serve youth and the adults who interact with young people every day, while developing programs that are involving full communities. Any organization, city, town, or region that is struggling with issues of limited access to arts and education opportunities or with situations of diversity where differences are seen as barriers, are places where Story Tapestries can make an impact.

E: You’re really creating systemic change here in Montgomery County and other local counties in Maryland - your replicable models have been used as far south as North Carolina. It would be great to see these programs take flight and find their way into communities all over the USA. Thank you so much for sharing your time and insight with us, Lorienne.


For anyone who would like to be apart of this amazing organization and its wonderful, vital mission, please check out their website and consider making a donation. They provide some great resources for educators, and they have a beautiful blog full of great information and engaging stories. Until next time, everyone!
 

Emily Sinclair Montague
Emily Sinclair Montague

Links:

LIVE PD
LIVE PD's in the past, Virtual PD's in the Present

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s natural to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and goals for the new year. One of the many things I’m grateful for over this past year is the work I’ve done with an organization that has a mission dear to my heart. Story Tapestries empowers, educates and engages with youth, teachers, parents, mentors and community leaders through arts-infused programs that help young people of all ages connect to academic material and unlock their own abilities in incredible ways. As President of the Board, I have watched Story Tapestries launch a new website, www.storytapestries.org, making valuable resources available for free online as well as reach individuals directly through 29 artist-in-residencies, 18 single workshops, and 18 professional development programs delivered across DC, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and beyond at low- to no-cost to participants.

 

The foundress of the organization, and my friend, Arianna Ross, is filled with an energy and passion that is contagious. In a recent conversation over coffee with community member John Sheehan of Bethesda, MD, he noted, “(Arianna) is full of innocent wonder, and energy that constantly breathes fresh life into her work and inspires her staff of nineteen people.” Thanks to her guidance and the support of donors, Story Tapestries led 29 artist-in-residencies, 18 single workshops, and 18 professional development programs all with the objective of utilizing the arts as a means to connect individuals with their own voice - as a student, teacher, friend, caretaker, kind neighbor, and more.

 

As you reminisce about your accomplishments in 2018 and dream about what you’ll create in 2019, consider your connection to the movement Story Tapestries is generating - we are grateful you are on this journey with us!

 

Keep in touch with the latest programs and developments on Story Tapestries’ News page: http://storytapestries.org/our-media/news-and-events/.

 

Wishing you a wonderful close to 2018 and a happy, healthy and artful 2019!

 

Thank you again for your time and sending wishes for a wonderful Happy New Year,


Katrina

 

Katrina Zimmerman

President of the Board, Artist and Art Teacher

 

PS  Invite a friend to learn more here!

Building Coordination and Literacy Skills
Building Coordination and Literacy Skills

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Story Tapestries Inc.

Location: Germantown, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @storytapestriesengage
Project Leader:
Arianna Ross
Germantown, MD United States
$2,475 raised of $81,000 goal
 
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