Monday, December 8, 2008

Cultural Production students at Prospect Hill Terrace

Over the past two years, Cultural Production graduate students and faculty have partnered with the tenants association at Prospect Hill Terrace, Waltham’s largest public housing development, to develop cultural enrichment programs for children, teens and adults. During the Fall 2008 semester, for instance, Nadia Hemady has concentrated on adolescent programming, including engaging teens in reading and rehearsing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. She's also engaged the teens in her love of Japanese popular culture, exposing them to trends in manga and anime. Cathy Draine designed a lesson plan process for our various initiatives. Amanda Sobel Driver organized an arts enrichment workshop for children, culminating in a visit to the Surrealism exhibition at the Rose Art Museum. Bryce Peake has led a workshop on percussion and improvisation, emphasizing music making with found objects. Brian Friedberg leads a workshop on popular music for teenage young women, structured around a “mockumentary” about the breakup of a girl band. A group of grad students and undergrads also worked with children in studying and making African-style masks, and telling stories about the power of the masks. Brian and other students, as well as Professor Ellen Schattschneider, have worked with the adult tenants to develop local vegetable and flower gardens, and explore sustainable food initiatives. Inspired by Professor Jane Hale's work on family literacy, a number of students and faculty have worked on reading issues with family members of all ages. Atem Aleu has done workshops on water color painting with children.

The Community Center is in a transitional period, as students and tenants work together to plan a sustainable trajectory during a time of limited financial resources. But Cultural Production students remain active partners at Prospect Hill, and we look forward to an exciting spring semester of artistic, cultural and empowerment initiatives.

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