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“Ovations” Performing Arts Outreach

Pend Oreille Arts Council

The Ovations program operates in conjunction with POAC’s annual performance series, held at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint, providing 1,500 students the opportunity to experience enriching, education-based performances, lecture/demonstrations, and workshops hosted by nationally and internationally renowned performers and artists. The project provided students to develop skills and knowledge in the fundamentals of performing arts through the discipline of theater, music and dance. Educational performances are aligned with schools and grade levels that have corresponding curriculum. Workshops and lecture/demonstrations are designed to offer direct, individualized guidance and instruction to students.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art?

When we selected performances/performers each season, we look for those that offer educational opportunities that align with the goals and objectives of the national and state standards. We want to ensure our offerings and materials will fall under the Artistic Process of Responding/Appreciating; understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning. Our essential question is the overall understanding of what we do, “How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art?” As a result, the joy of experiencing the arts is enriched and matured by the discipline of learning and the pride of accomplishment. Essentially, the program asked students to know and be able to communicate and display knowledge and skills in vocabularies, materials, tools and techniques at the basic level. As a result of experiencing the arts, students arrived at a broad-based, well-grounded understanding of the nature, value, and meaning of the arts as a part of their own humanity.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

We have identified discipline-specific knowledge and skill standards that students will know and be able to do in the arts as an outcome of the Ovations program through music, dance and theater:

1. Responding: Anchor #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work
i. Skill Standard: TH:Re7.1.I -Respond to what is seen, felt, and heard in a dance/theatre/music work to develop criteria for artistic choices.

The Lake Pend Oreille Alternative High School had the opportunity to see Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, The Secret Life of Bees in a live performance. They were also able to directly ask questions with the actor which extended well over her time. After the performance they participated in a workshop writing their own ‘Life’ monologues and presenting to the group. In observations, it took some time for them to warm up and trust the group before presenting, but once the group came together, there were some powerful stories coming from the students. Their response to the performance was evident in their expressions and passion flowing about their own struggles in life with family and school.

Impact

The Ovations program nurtures important values, including team-building skills; respecting alternative points of view; and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions. This is especially important in rural northern Idaho, where exposure to various cultures is limited. Interaction with people of diversity (such as language, background, ethnicity, culture, nationality, religion) can be a life-changing experience.
We are fortunate to have this program enhancing the learning within the classrooms. According to the research of the National Arts Standards, say “Participation in each of the arts as performers, creators and audience members enables individuals to discover and develop their own creative capacity thereby providing a source of lifelong satisfaction.” At an educational performance, the performers invited students to participate by joining them on stage; they learn to play instruments, recreate dance steps, sing and write their own song. Included in the group discussions were explanations of song origins, instruments and dances, and information about the cultures represented by the performers, as well as the performers themselves and their backgrounds. Students discussed the roles of the musicians, singers, dancers or actors, and what was required to be a professional.
At the end of summer, the Ovations program evaluations, verbal and written feedback, specific student learning achievements, and photos/videos are compiled and presented to school administrators and POAC constituents.

Reflection

POAC’s education programs have a long history in Bonner County schools – Ovations will celebrated 32 years of service to our students in the community. They are managed by POAC Board members, staff, and numerous volunteers – all in partnership with the Superintendent of Lake Pend Oreille School District (LPOSD), and numerous school administrators and teachers. POAC’s leadership team meets with school administration prior to each season/school year, to discuss the programs offered, distribute materials and answer any questions they may have – ensuring the educational offerings are aligned with schools/classes and the Common Core Standards. POAC developed and distributed preparatory curriculum in partnership with the performers and teachers for use in classrooms, prior to the performance, lecture/demonstration, or workshop. POAC also coordinated transportation for the students with the LPOSD Transportation Office. POAC also coordinated for The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, helping them establish their Children Performing for Children series. All activities took place where they will be most effective; in the Panida Theater, at dance or music studios or at the schools, to maximize our audience effectiveness.
In the future, we will make it clear on the FERPA with participating schools. Students were photographed and videoed, but all did not receive confirmation to use photos publicly. We made efforts to take photos that focused on what the students experienced in their Ovations programs, not on their smiling faces. For Missoula Children’s Theater, we did receive signed confirmation from parents that we could use their children’s photos/videos for publicity.

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