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TAP After School: Taking a look at our spring

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

It is hard to believe but we are only a month away from the end of our spring semester in TAP After-School. This is my fourth semester at Theatre Action Project and the busiest yet! Our Teaching Artists are wrapping up their projects, we’re gearing up to thank all our fabulous volunteers at the Open House next week, and we’re looking forward to a busy season of Summer Camp.

Four Square play ground marking design by Griffin Ramsey

One of the more exciting projects I focused on this spring is our partnership with University of Texas’ School of Public Health (UTSPH) painting playground markings at local elementary schools. The Active Play Project is taking place in schools throughout Del Valle and Bastrop ISD. Ten of our talented Teaching Artists are currently working with their campus principals, teachers, parents, and students to undertake this community-based arts project. Using stencils the TAs designed as well as ones loaned to us by UTSPH, our teachers are painting a variety of markings around their campuses.

Throughout my time at TAP I have assisted with painting a few murals; painting a playground marking is a similar yet unique process. This project required distinctive supplies: traffic marking paint, styrene stencils, and power-washing, not to mention battling wind, weather changes, and the challenges of coordinating ten professional artist-educators. Working alongside Natalie Goodnow, Caroline Reck, and Sarah Rinner, we created an efficient system for tracking each stencil. I also researched traffic marking paint companies (a skill I never imagined having!) and ordered a lot of paint. We also ordered two new styrene stencils from a local company, which I picked up on Monday. It was an exciting moment to see the beautiful, unused stencils laid out on the TAP lawn.

Final painted play ground marking

The TAs are already hard at work painting their campuses. We’re all learning valuable lessons about coordinating a large-scale community arts project. One of our teachers, Lillie Hollingsworth put it best when she said, “…it isn’t about perfection, it’s about community!” I could not agree more and cannot wait to see the finished playgrounds!

Read more about our work with the Active Play Project: CLICK HERE.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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