RES Families Explore Cultures, Celebrate Diversity
An evening of art, music and dance was filled with excitement and curiosity April 30 at Remington Elementary School in District 49.
Celebrate the Arts Family Fun Night was funded by a grant awarded by the Falcon Education Foundation to art teacher Angie Reid, who purchased supplies and food, and booked a West African dancing and drumming troupe.
Families were able to explore world cultures through several hands-on activities. Reid said the event promoted respect and understandings, while celebrating diversity by recognizing similarities and differences.
“I wanted the kids to see first hand the dance and music created in other places,” said Reid, wearing a colorful dashiki garment and kufi cap. She was surrounded by exhibits of artifacts collected during her travels to more than 30 countries, including textiles, sculptures, masks and puppets.
“It all helps bridge the gaps between different places,” said Reid. “We’re bringing it all together.”
“It’s all hands-on, so it helps them learn,” said Jennifer Markovsky, while painting with her daughter Milla, 5. “And it’s art—they can make mistakes and have fun, and it’s still art.” Emphasizing the socializing aspect, she says participating in family events is preparing her daughter for kindergarten.
Near a line of families patiently waiting for Indian henna, a plant-based dye used for temporary tattooing, fifth-grader Garrett Walker, 11, was practicing lessons in Australian aboriginal dot painting. In the school gym, fourth-grader Natasha Stocker, 10, was offering to apply face and body paints.
The gym was full of youthful cheers and waiving hands, as Dallo Fall of Senegal led the Jamoral troupe through West African dancing and drumming traditions. Aside from classes in African dance and performances, she also assists with lessons in African clothing, crafts and hair-braiding.
“It’s a night for multi-sensory exploration and exposure to the exciting world of the visual and performing arts,” said Reid.
“Each family member is encouraged to create, to dance, to sing and to listen as we all take a journey together across the globe.”