Wednesday, December 9 – Project: VITAL (Values in the Arts & Life) teaches diverse constituencies about positive personal and social values as well as the value of arts education, using a community collaboration format, in which varied groups work on a common project, although not all in the same room at the same time. This year’s Project: VITAL celebrated the value of the human spirit (or ruach in Hebrew), as expressed through the arts of different cultures and nationalities around the world. RUACH sent visual arts, music, and theater teachers into schools around Milwaukee to lead residencies focusing on arts and traditions of different communities from around the globe. Through the written story, arts and music, students gained a greater appreciation for their own roots, while learning about other cultures in a supportive and creative environment. This is reflective of RUACH’s mission to deliver arts programming that serves not just the arts’ sake, but a greater purpose.
Continuing with RUACH’s well-established community collaborative model of Project: VITAL, the students’ artworks from the various residencies were brought together to create a larger art piece, or in this case, a production. On December 9th, at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, each of the participating six schools involved attended a ceremony showcasing their creations to an audience of almost 200 people, including student participants, teachers, administration, and other observers. The program consisted of various components, highlighting the creations of the schools participating in the program. The works of the four schools participating in the visual arts component (ALBA School, I.D.E.A.L. School, Trowbridge Street School, and Victory Italian Immersion School) were showcased through a video integrating their artworks. During the residencies, the schools illustrated the Vietnamese-American-influenced book, “The Lotus Seed”. The book was divided into four parts and each school illustrated their part in a style of art that celebrated a different culture (Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Jewish) from around the globe.
In addition, Sherman Multicultural Arts School and Kathryn T. Daniels University Preparatory Academy each participated in a music residency by celebrating the art of drumming with a community. The day of the performance, the two schools shared a circle of drums, and together with audience participation, celebrated the value of the spirit of music and drumming in the culture on which they focused. Yeshiva Elementary School’s artwork was featured through an animation created through ‘Tales That Unite & Delight: A Jewish Story Project’, entitled “Nachum Ish Gamzu”. The last piece of the program was a performance by Hillel Academy which was an outcome of a residency that took place in the fall. The students learned and performed an adaptation of a Russian folk play, celebrating the strength of our roots and community.
The program was a huge success and taught students and observers the value of celebrating the human spirit through culture and the arts.
Thank you to our sponsors: The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, Bader Philanthropies, and the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation.