Barrett Kids: After School Art & Homework Club, Pilot Program, Spring 2019
Anna Adler, Outreach & Programs Coordinator, BAC, firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the Barrett Kids: Final Exhibition & Celebration ! We're so humbled by these awesome young artists and excited to keep Barrett Kids going strong into this coming school year and beyond...
The artwork is still up so stop by Adriance Memorial Library TODAY and Barrett on Wed, Fri and Sat of this week! Shout out to our partners Poughkeepsie Public Library District ( PPLD ) and Clinton Elementary School and sponsors Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, the City of Poughkeepsie, Arts Mid-Hudson, Dutchess Tourism, Inc., Prime Print, and Stewart's Shops.
Check out photos from the Final Exhibition & Celebration here…..
When I started at Barrett last July one of my main tasks was to strengthen our connection with our community, specifically our block. I was most excited and nervous about this task, so I started with the most rudimentary form of connecting:
I knocked on doors and introduced myself.
I rattled off a brief spiel about BAC, handed out postcards, asked neighbors their names, and often pointed down, up, or across the street to our building, with the OPEN flag out front.
The conversation usually included me saying Yes it’s an art center, Yes it’s free, and Sorry I don’t speak Spanish!.
Many long-time residents, as well as new neighbors, had never been to Barrett. Along with inviting them to visit, I asked what they’d like to see at the Center, and/or on the block, did they have kids, how old, etc? It was a mixed exchange,-- some excitement, some hesitation, some interesting conversations and several great connections were made.
Several residents wanted to see kids’ programs, others wanted to see the block cleaned up and for cars to slow down so that their kids could safely play outside.
Out of these conversations with neighbors and our ED Joanna Frang, as well as with our BAC Artist-in-Residence Benjamin Arnold, several ideas formed. Mainly, the idea to create our Noxon Street Neighborhood Program which includes Barrett Kids: After School Art & Homework Club, Noxon Block Clean Up & Party, BAC Fall Open House and several other neighborhood facing initiatives in progress that connect, collaborate with, and makeg an impact on youth in our neighborhood.
The idea is to create a stable triangle of support and engagement between Clinton School, Barrett, and Adriance Library.
Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon we walk to Clinton School to pick up our kids, Barrett Kids, as they’re lovingly called at BAC and over the telecom system at Clinton School when Ms. Audrey or Ms. Tina summon them for pick up.
We walk over to Barrett to have “Snack & Sketch” (the kids all keep sketchbooks), then over to Adriance Library for Homework Support, and then back to Barrett for an Art Workshop with Ben.
We dig in to the shows at Barrett and visit nearby galleries; we meet artists and make connections. We learn a lot from each other. So, these kids are not just the first participants in our program, they are our collaborators, our generators, our eyes out onto the neighborhood.
This small energetic group of elementary school students is honest and creative, rambunctious and curious: they provide a vital lens through which to see and understand the ever evolving City of Poughkeepsie and they are absolutely the future of this place. We better pay attention and listen to what they have to say, what they have to paint, what they have to sculpt, sing, dance, write, etc. We are lucky and grateful to work with them and look forward to being a part of their creative and promising future(s) for years to come