Van Wezel Foundation Brings Mr. Stevey and Friends to Newtown Farmers Market

The Giving Coast

The Van Wezel Foundation is teaming up with the Newtown Farmers Market to present Mr. Stevey & Friends’ “Exploring Outer Space,” the first in a series of free, family-friendly events, held on Saturday, September 24 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 2523 Cocoanut Ave. in Sarasota. Mr. Stevey and Friends will help children and families learn how to increase resilience and stress management through mindfulness using the arts while exploring the solar system. Mr. Stevey will be joined by guest artist Freda Williams, who will teach families how to make space rocks. Subsequent events, each featuring a different theme, will take place on the last Saturday of each month. The Education and Lifelong Learning program at the Van Wezel Foundation provides arts integration and education experiences to increase understanding in the classroom, the community and beyond. This event is another example of how the Foundation is living up to its mission to advance education and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts, while creating and sustaining a vibrant performing arts center. Mr. Stevey (Jones) is a Sarasota-based teaching artist who meditates daily and is certified in mindfulness. A former award-winning journalist and local substitute teacher, Stevey hosts “Mr. Stevey Meditates,” an educational channel on YouTube that explores mindfulness techniques. Stevey incorporates mindfulness, writing and social media into his teaching artistry to create educational experiences focused on helping students feel better so they can learn better. Stevey also enjoys developing and launching innovative arts education programs for nonprofits, school districts and community organizations with a focus on engaging students from traditionally underserved communities. Freda Williams is a teaching artist with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall specializing in arts integration for the past five years. She is a Ringling College alumna in the area of Fine Arts and Interior Space Planning. Freda utilizes her training to practice, design lessons and lead workshops for gifted elementary-aged students throughout the local school districts. This includes leading a well-known after-school Elementary Drama gifted program. Freda also teaches arts integrated activities to Summer Learning Academy students in Sarasota and helps lead Family Literacy Nights at Title 1 schools focused on drama and visual arts. She has previously won the Florida Reading Association Teacher of the Year for the State of Florida.

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