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Tag Archives: Creative Artists

Meet Corinna Archer

by Corinna Archer, Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Hi, my name is Corinna Archer and I am so excited to be joining the Creative Action family as the new Programs Associate VISTA! While I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first day (besides asking a million questions), everyone has been so welcoming and helped me feel right at home in my new role in the office for the next year. When I started as a volunteer at Creative Action in 2011, I was so excited to find a meaningful way to serve my hometown community through my skills making costumes and working with youth that I developed during college as a dramaturgy major at Carnegie Mellon University. One year of AmeriCorps service with Communities In Schools of Central Texas and many volunteer hours with Creative Action later, I have deepened my relationship with Creative Action as a VISTA where I can share my passion for the arts and serve the community by helping give youth access to empowering creative learning opportunities.

I just returned from a fantastic pre-service orientation in Dallas where I met so many inspiring VISTAs, and learned about the history and mission of Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) and how VISTAs fight poverty by supporting and strengthening non-profit organizations around the country. While learning about the variety of ways VISTAs help to combat poverty by developing community resources, I was reminded of the “4 C’s” that Creative Action programs inspire students to become: creative artists, critical thinkers, courageous allies, and confident leaders. While all of the VISTAs I met at PSO were focused on addressing different community needs through their service with all kinds of amazing organizations, as VISTAs we will each embody the”4 Cs” throughout our year of service as we solve problems with creativity and compassion, engage volunteers in meaningful service opportunities, and stand up against injustices in the community.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA I am proud to serve as a role model of the “4 C’s” in my community by supporting the mission of Creative Action to activate the academic, social and emotional development of youth through the creative arts, and I can’t wait to see what wonderful experiences this year will bring!

Teaching Artist Reflects on School Year, Wonderful Students

by Nadia Rangel, Teaching Artist at Langford Elementary

The students at Langford Elementary are wonderful! They discussed and participated in activities that focused on being accepting of one another, and building self-esteem. Within a couple of weeks they had created a classroom community that they were proud of.

One of our projects included discussing different personality characteristics associated with various animals, and choosing one we felt most represented ourselves to turn into a mask. We had everything from an energetic, talented, and loyal bear to a friendly and sensitive rabbit. From this exercise the students:

  • Discovered similarities and differences they had with one another.
  • Discussed how they would prefer to be part of a diverse community.
  • Enjoyed being able to learn while making something fun that they could show off to their friends and family.

By the end of the year the students had worked on numerous activities. They were constantly making connections between their lives in school and at home with topics we had discussed in class. Early on in the year I discovered their love for writing. By the end of the semester they went home with a journal full of pages where they had been able to express their feelings on their home and school communities, as well as topics on bullying, and friendship.

The students at Langford Elementary are a wonderful group, and were a blast to work with. They found ways to inspire each other, and wound up becoming a very strong group of individuals.

Nadia Rangel is a Theatre Action Project (TAP) After-School K-2 teaching artist at Langford Elementary.

P.S. My favorite summer camp memory was getting to work on new projects and be creative.

The 4 C’s Personified

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Artwork from Art, Imagination, and Insight, February 5, 2012

I lost a very close friend this past week. She was loving, gracious, fun, loved to laugh and enjoyed going to the theater. A program close to her heart at St. Edward’s University was the College Assistance Migrant Program or CAMP, which helps first-year students from migrant and seasonal farm worker families develop needed skills to succeed in college. As an English Writing professor she taught not only about writing but using one’s passion to shape and inspire their work. My friend’s qualities stand out to me personally because they mirror the goals we have at Theatre Action Project, to inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders. She showed me every day:

  • How a creative artist generates ideas and finds the answers by following a hearty recipe of inspiration, collaboration and innovation;
  • What a courageous ally says when speaking up for a friend;
  • How a critical thinker looks at all sides of an issue in order to make the best decision possible, and
  • How a confident leader uses openness, strength and compassion.

I’m happy knowing Theatre Action Project is leading the charge and growing the next generation of artists, allies, thinkers and doers. My friend would be so happy.

Artwork from Art, Imagination, and Insight, February 5, 2012

Counting My Blessings

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Thanksgiving time makes me thankful for so many things: family, friends, and the great staff at Theatre Action Project. The mission at TAP steers us individually and collectively and I am thankful for the board, staff, the hard-working AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, and teaching artists who work hard to inspire our youth.

I count creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders as strong blessings in my life. They make my world alive with color and inspiration, safe and nurturing, innovative with new ideas, and motive me to imagine solutions and new possibilities.

What blessings in your life inspire you?

Thanksgiving Week is Upon Us

by Chelsea Gilman, Business Manager

Thanksgiving week is upon us.  It’s a nice time to reflect on what we’re all thankful for – the wonderful people in our lives, our health, and our happiness. Read the rest of this entry

In defense of chaos, Or why we need to make a mess

by Lindsay Palmer, Teaching Artist, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School, Del Valle ISD

So here’s the thing about creativity…it’s messy! Oh how many times have I had the experience of a visitor walking in my class room mid-art production and seen the not so subtle look of horror on their faces at catching the chaotic mess that is 15 first graders’ whose puppets are still in progress. Or drums, or costumes, or movie sets, or paintings. Yes, I know this room looks a mess but I promise there is genius underneath all of those pipe cleaners. You see it takes a mess to make greatness in my classroom. Creativity requires a certain freedom. This is the kind of freedom that kids are rarely allowed during their regular school day. I believe learning should always be a hands-on, nitty-gritty process, and in art it is essential. Once that first messy art project is underway, it sets the tone for who I am as a teacher and what this class will be like. I am the teacher that allows a little crazy. I know this is scary because one kind of crazy can lead to another, and I have experienced that. And yes, my classroom gets a little loud too. Finding balance between keeping some order, and maintaining authority in the room, while simultaneously easing up on their normal school day rules in order to foster creativity, is a tricky line to walk. Read the rest of this entry

Creative Thinking Born in Arts Programs

by Emily Watkins, University of Texas Tower PR

In college, professors expect you to think outside a so-called “box”. Essentially they want you to think differently than everyone and have an original idea. Additionally employers are looking for creative thinkers and expect you to bring a unique insight to their company. But where do you learn how to be a creative person? Read the rest of this entry