Connecting Cultures through the Arts
Posted: November 7th, 2011
On Saturday, Nov. 5, parents gathered with their little ones at Imaginon for “Connecting Cultures through Arts” as a part of Many Cultures One Community, a 30-day series of community-wide events and workshops to build trust across ethnic, racial and cultural differences. The hands-on interactive event had adult and children participants from 14 months to 60 years old. Participants learned about other cultures through dance, music, painting and poetry.
First the energetic youth and adults danced with joy to the beat of the drums as they learned the Bhangra, a form of dance from North West India.
“It was exciting to see the kids faces as they dance,” said Anish V. Thakkar, founder of Queen City Bhangra Academy. “There is a sense of pride of being able to show this folk dance that’s been around for 100 years. The kids were quick learners.”
Next the participants faces lit up as they played Criss Cross Mangosauce, an interactive music, dancing and story activity that uses Spanish-English words to guide the listener. The youth ran around, twirled and jumped as they quickly learned Spanish words like “pequeño” (small), “grande” (big) and “rápido” (fast) with Irania Patterson and Ana Lucia Divins, founders of Criss Cross Mangosauce.
Edwin Gil, a contemporary Colombian conceptual artist, taught participants how to use art to illustrate their memories. The kids shared fond memories of being with their families, having pets and taking canoe trips. The kids painted on squares, then combined their paint squares with others in the room to create one large memory as way to show connection across differences. Gil then hung the memories on a board to create a memory quilt.
Danielle Brockington from the Mint Museum told the children about Romare Bearden, a Charlotte-born artist. Bearden, who was African American, used vibrant colors and collage to tell stories of his life experiences through his artwork. Children got a chance to then record their memories on video for “Bearden Memory Train,” a video community quilt that will be shown at different museums around the country.
“I love this event because it was a way to bring kids together to learn about different cultures,” said Felicia Lawyer, who attended with her two grandchildren. “For children to be exposed to something like this teaches them that there is so much more. It helps them become comfortable with others at an early age.”