The Arts Council of Fairfax County has placed three Fairfax artists at middle schools in Fairfax County as a part of the Artist Residency Program. The artists are connecting visual art and theatre with language arts, social studies, technology, music and physical education study areas to offer students engaging, unique and innovative learning experiences.
- Photographer, writer and editor Glenn Cook will engage Holmes Middle School art students in “The Resilience Project.” His residency will connect visual and digital art with language arts, social studies and technology.
- 1st Stage Artistic Director Alex Levy will involve Lake Braddock Secondary School speech and drama students in a residency titled “Discovering your story: Solo-Performance Workshop.” His residency will connect theatre with language arts.
- Stage combat teacher and actor Brad Waller will work with Glasgow Middle School English students for his residency, “The Art of the Sword”. His residency will connect theatre with movement and physical education, visual art and music.
Cook’s residency program will offer students the opportunity to create an original visual story that includes a series of four to eight still images enhanced by written narrative or a short, two to four minute video enhanced by audio narrative. Working individually and in small groups, the students will learn how to use the art, tools and techniques of visual storytelling to illustrate and illuminate their subject. Participation in the project will enable students to discover that resilience is a trait that can be developed by anyone.
“As a photographer and writer, I have long been fascinated by resiliency,” said Glenn Cook about the topic of his residency program. “What makes a person resilient in the face of day-to-day stress, tragedy or even trauma has great value for students who are still learning the skills they will need to deal with adversity in life.”
Levy’s residency program will challenge students to discover the power of their individual voice and lives by discovering and telling their story. Using a series of active exercises and a variety of theatrical styles, students will identify, create and perform a solo performance based on their personal stories. Participation in this workshop will enable students to recognize the power of their own voices, gain empathy through active listening and collaboration, and develop their dramatic performance skills.
“Solo performance requires artistic creativity but also helps a young person recognize the value of their place in the world and the power of their own voice,” said Alex Levy about the importance of his residency program.
Waller’s residency program will use fight choreography to teach students about conflict and conflict resolution in theatrical performances. Students will construct their own safe stage combat-worthy light sabers and create an original light saber battle with movement, dialogue, music and monologues as a dramatic performance. By effectively incorporating physical and collaborative movement in performance, students will learn to illustrate dramatic text in action using best practices that support student safety while developing self-awareness and partnering skills.
“For me, the idea of engaging the human fascination with combat to draw a young mind into the genius of classical works, while at the same time teaching them to keep one another safe, is an adventurous journey and speaks to the child within each of us,” said Brad Waller about the focus of his residency program.
The Arts Council, in collaboration with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), launched the Artist Residency Program in 2014. The program is designed to create opportunities for professional artists to share their expertise through unique arts education programming that supplements the FCPS curriculum. Students are engaged in cross-curricular learning through the arts, enhancing their skills in creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. To date, twelve Fairfax County artists have been trained and placed in FCPS middle schools through the Artist Residency Program. These artists are available for additional residencies, private and public school funding permitting.
“We are excited to bring the professional talents of Glenn Cook, Alex Levy and Brad Waller to Fairfax County middle schools,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President & CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. “The artists, with guidance from our FCPS arts educator and curriculum specialist, have designed highly engaging workshops that provide new opportunities for students to express themselves artistically while utilizing 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.”
The Artist Residency Program is funded in part by Carnival Foundation, Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, Dimick Foundation, Dominion Energy Foundation, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts with institutional resources committed by the Arts Council and FCPS.
To learn more about the program or to host a teaching artist for your middle school, visit https://artsfairfax.org/resources/opportunities/artist-residency-program.