Mar 26, 2014
11:27 AM
Education

Connecticut Arts Education Stars at 'Arts for Learning' Spring Showcase

Connecticut Arts Education Stars at 'Arts for Learning' Spring Showcase

Felicity Jones will be one artist featured at the Spring Showcase.

Chapel Street Elementary School in Stratford will be transformed into a circus next Friday (April 4), with rooms becoming different "tents," each featuring a different must-see act. There will be Brazilian dance in the cafeteria, jazz music in the gymnasium and creative writing in the music room, to name just a few of the offerings. 

The ringmaster is Arts for Leaning Connecticut (AFLCT), an arts education organization that serves as an essential resource for arts engagement in the state. AFLCT maintains a diverse roster of artists who can be hired to provide educational programming at schools, libraries, community centers and more.

Twice a year, AFLCT takes over a different school to stage its showcases. Educators, administrators, PTO and PTA parents, librarians, media specialists, parks and recreation organizations and others are invited to attend the hands-on workshops. This year, the students of Chapel Street Elementary School will get to experience the fun, too.

The day is packed with programming to show attendees the artists’ potential and entice them to book educational arts performances that meet their needs and goals.

“I think [people] get inspired about the possibilities for their own populations, whether that’s school children or after-school children or family learning,” says AFLCT Executive Director Eileen Carpinella. “When they see our programs, they immediately make those connections.”

Tickets for the Spring Showcase cost $10 and include full access to all of the performers. Demonstrations will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the school, located at 380 Chapel Street in Stratford. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

More than 40 artists from within Connecticut and around the country will be present at the event.

Some of the talent includes Felicity Jones of New Milford, who will introduce students to the basics of U.S. government through her interactive one-woman show, “Me Pluribus Unum.”

Tim Latta, (pictured above) also of New Milford, will bring his action packed physical theater show, “Motion 360” to audiences. The veteran dancer, choreographer, actor, director and designer uses an array of props – from rollerblades to stilts – to demonstrate the creative process of exploration.

Check out an example of his show below. 

Latta and Jones are partners in arts education. Check out their website here

Connecticut-based and Chinese-born acrobat Li Liu (pictured below) will astound attendees with her array of tricks. She previously toured with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

“It really runs the gamut,” Carpinella says of the variety of performances booked for the day.

Before and after their performances, the artists will have tables set up in the hallways to talk with audience members. It’s an opportunity for artists and attendees to meet and discuss future booking opportunities.

AFLCT is affiliated with the International Organization on Arts and Disability (VSA) and Young Audience, Inc. The non-profit has had a presence in the state for the last 35 years, and was formerly known as the Young Audiences of Connecticut.

Carpinella says the organization is constantly looking for new talent to include on its roster. Artists can apply by filling out a form on the website and sending in samples of their work. A volunteer program committee reviews the materials and asks the potential artists to audition in front of an audience made up of students. If all goes well, AFLCT brings the artist on.

“We’re really connecting [artistic] programs to educational objectives, and the core curriculum standards, which are so important in today’s educational system,” says Carpinella. “It also frees them to be creative and to focus on their programs and development. We handle the business side for them.”

The community of artists also gets the opportunity to meet several times a year to discuss issues and challenges members face within the industry and with their programs. 

The showcase is mutually beneficial for both the artists and the educators. AFLCT hopes that partnerships will be made – ones that enhance the future of students and community members.

For more information on AFLCT or the showcase, visit the website. Tickets can be purchased at the door. 

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

Connecticut Arts Education Stars at 'Arts for Learning' Spring Showcase

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