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Conference Sessions and Presenters - Friday, October 27th

AM Session Block 1, Friday, October 27th

New Cultural Collaborations Weaving Beautiful Outcomes, Sherry Gould and Heather Mitchell

This session will discuss how the Abenaki Trails Project has brought together diverse community groups who had yet to collaborate. As boundaries dissolved, many threads emerged to create a multiplicity of projects. Since the founding of the Abenaki Trails Project in 2020, those involved have traveled all over the state intersecting with a wide variety of individuals and organizations. These groups are not necessarily considered part of the arts community and yet have been very welcome to connect to the deeper story of the shared history. This session would look at how the historical societies, state officials, schools and colleges, and organizations have been woven in as this story has unfolded. The goal is to provide participants with a framework for how our project might spark ideas for individuals and organizations in other communities.

Art Journal as Portal for Justice Conversations, Alana Garrigues

In this workshop, participants will be invited to consider using an art journal to connect and engage in Equity and Human Rights, through facilitated conversation and hands-on art journaling experience. A mixed media approach will be used, inviting participants to draw, color, collage, and paste their way into social justice conversations in a meaningful way. 

The workshop will begin with a brief introduction to Alana's practice, ways to journal for justice, and outcomes in self-expression, awareness, advocacy, and community, then lead into an interactive component. 

Slow Looking: There is No Wrong Answer, Corie Lyford, Suzanne Canali, and Lucie Amaro Chmura,

Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art has provided wellness programs to a wide variety of audiences over the years and continues to develop programming in response to community needs. They have learned that the arts are intrinsically connected to wellbeing. With careful programming, there is no wrong way for people to engage, to participate, and to create. Attendees learn what distinguishes a class or workshop as Wellness, the structure of programming critical to successful outcomes, and participate in a visual interpretation exercise called Slow Looking to experience a taste of Wellness programming themselves. 

Slow looking is an approach that requires spending focused time looking closely and intentionally at an artwork. This intentional and focused looking allows the viewer the opportunity to really get to know a piece of art and make their own discoveries about it. The process of slow looking allows one to connect more deeply with others, with oneself, and with art in an intentional and personal way. Resources will be provided for participants who want to use slow looking in their own communities. 

One Book One School: Interdisciplinary Arts Integration Through Literacy, Emma Dassori, Kimberly Massaro, and Kaitie Hart, Sandwich Central School

This past school year, Specials teachers from Sandwich Central School were tasked with developing a whole-school literacy initiative for the month of March, in celebration of Read Across America. A "One Book One School" model was chosen, along with the picture book, "I Talk Like A River," by poet, Jordan Scott. Working together, the Specials teachers developed a series of common experiences centered on the theme of communication. These included a series of all-school meetings, classroom resources provided to grade-level teachers, and month-long interdisciplinary units developed by each Specials teacher for their K-6 classes. As part of these units, students ventured outdoors on snowshoes in PE, created books in Art, wrote and performed compositions in Band, and developed theatrical adaptations in Performing Arts, which were presented as part of the school's outdoor Spring Performance Showcase. During the workshop, participants will look at the ways in which the Specials teachers adapted the one book one school model for their students and school, and for each of their disciplines. Time will be given for a guided lesson in adaptation, in which participants will have the opportunity to create together. 

PM Session Block 2, Friday, October 27th 

Wisdom In Our Community, Susan Rosano

Research has demonstrated that in older adults, life review can enhance general well-being and bring forth the wisdom of our elders. Susan's workshop will give participants ideas on how to conduct life review through the arts and make the wisdom of the elders in our community visible to the public. Positive effects of life review range from increasing self-esteem, life satisfaction, support self-confidence and reduce loneliness and depression. The goal of the "Wisdom In Our Community Program" is to transform negative ideas about aging in our culture into positive beliefs about the strength, wisdom and contributions of senior citizens to their communities by documenting their personal histories through visual arts and storytelling. Susan will explain visual art and storytelling projects that help seniors and other populations, express themselves about their past. She will also have participants create a "Family Story Poem" to have the experience of documenting a short story from their own personal history, which will be turned into short, narrative poem. 

Zine-making: Sharing our Stories, Julia Butterfield, Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network

WREN's zine workshop was the pilot workshop for their Wings 2.0 program. The mission of their Wings 2.0 program is to amplify marginalized voices and reinforce to local adolescents their inherent value to their community and the world. In this workshop, Julia of WREN will share a brief history of zines and why we make them, and then participants will have the opportunity to make their own zines. Attendees can bring their own writing and art to compile into a zine or can create content on the spot. No experience is necessary, and participants don't need to consider themselves artists or writers; this workshop is for allowing yourself to be creative and honoring your creative expression, whatever form it takes. Zine making facilitates interpersonal and community connections and the art form is an accessible way to share our perspectives and tell our stories. This workshop model is accessible to youth, has a positive impact on well-being and self-worth, helps make connections, provide a jumping-off place for conversations, and provides a comfortable space to gather together. WREN and its Wings 2.0 program are dedicated to providing a home for arts experiences for the North Country.


The Art of Community Gardening: Growing Food, Health, and Cross Cultural Community, Kaylin Lustig, Sibongile Ndlovu, and Avery Vaillancourt of Sycamore Garden

This workshop will be a reflection piece on how gardening together allows us to gather and grow in community. The team from Sycamore Garden will address the importance of cross-cultural sharing within a new Learning Garden and how their experiences within this space have brought them together. They will present their new Shared Learning Garden, designed to support pollinator species, culturally significant crops, and medicinal plants valued by their gardeners, and their accompanying hands-on workshops that celebrate and empower their gardeners by offering them a chance to share their knowledge and techniques in agrarian folklife traditions. They will discuss their Harvest Celebration event and how food and music unites the community. Sibongile will share her experiences as a workshop leader, a gardener, and how Sycamore Garden helps create belonging, healing, and community. Avery Vaillancourt, who volunteered last year as a student with Second Start, will discuss why this experience was meaningful to him.

From Community to Classroom: The Transformative Power of Arts in Action, Ken Mendis and the Racial Unity Team

Arts in Action is a community-to-school initiative developed between NH's Racial Unity Team and NH educators. The goal of Arts in Action is to partner with schools and teachers who are passionate about integrating diverse perspectives into their educational landscape and fostering connections between students and the wider social landscapes. These community-to-school partnerships bridge the gaps between classrooms and their communities and allow students to hear directly from individuals who share how they use their art to make an impact on the world, igniting passion for artistic expression and demonstrating the power of art. The first portion of the workshop will be led by Racial Unity Team executive board members Ken Mendis and Sylvia Foster who will explore myriad ways Racial Unity Team can support educators and artists in fostering connections between students and the wider community. The second portion of this workshop will be led by educators from Exeter and Dover High Schools, and a former teacher of art in public education. They will present on how their work with RUT's Arts in Action project has provided students the platform to voice their concerns about everything from local to global issues. They will explore the role of educators in facilitating this work. Additionally, this portion will encourage attendees to take inspiration from the Arts in Action project and adapt it to their unique contexts. To achieve this, they will focus on several key highlights from their projects, including: student engagement and achievement, community involvement, and student advocacy that lead to better community health.

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