Any Given Child Gives Students Afternoon with the Arts

Todays News


Students from four Sarasota County elementary schools will spend a hands-on afternoon with the arts next week, as Any Given Child Sarasota returns to the Rosemary District for its second annual Paint, Print & Dance in the Rosemary event. Last year saw 35 rising third graders from Alta Vista Elementary School exploring their creative side alongside artists from Alfstad& Contemporary, Sarasota Contemporary Dance and Grace Howl Contemporary Art, but this year the program expands to include third grade classes from Gocio Elementary, Tuttle Elementary and Emma E. Booker Elementary as well.

The program comes as an offshoot of Sarasota County Schools’ Summer Learning Academy programs, which are designed to not only help students advance their learning during the summer months, but also prevent what educators refer to as the “summer slide,” when students can actually regress due to lack of stimulation. Designed to be academically engaging while encouraging a strong STEAM approach, cultural exploration plays a key role.

“By taking students to places they may not have experience with, we’re hoping to get them excited about learning, and know that experiential learning can happen beyond the classroom,” says Brian Hersh, program director for Any Given Child Sarasota. “In that way, students can start to see why learning matters and to see what it can translate to in the real world.”

And so, Monday through Thursday of next week, each class will spend one afternoon in the Rosemary District, dividing into groups of three and rotating through what Hersh refers to as “The Rosemary Triangle.” At Sarasota Contemporary Dance, the students will learn about different types of dance, as well as exploring their own abilities and the joy of movement, while at Grace Howl Contemporary Art each will try their hand with the paints. In the wake of Alfstad& Contemporary’s closing, its spiritual successor and Sarasota’s newest printshop—Alfstad& Editions—picks up the slack, with artist Chris Schumaker again showing the kids the ropes.

Each student will bring home a souvenir or two, Hersh says, but the greatest takeaway will likely be unseen. “Impacts are always different for each student, which is incredibly valid,” he says, and educators never know what will resonate with an individual pupil. “That’s why we have to keep giving different opportunities to our students, because we may not know what sparks their interest, but we owe it to our students to find out.”

The next step, Hersh says, will be to get the parents involved.

Pictured: Chris Schumaker helping Alta Vista students at the 2018 inaugural Paint, Print & Dance in the Rosemary event. Courtesy of Any Given Child Sarasota.

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