Turnaround Arts: North Dakota is thriving! This fall began with wonderful news for three of our program’s teachers. Turnaround Artist Dave Matthew’s Bama Works Fund provided support for Mr. Edpalina, Ms. Weippert, and Ms. Warren to receive 25 credits toward the purchase of instruments for their school along with a Little Kids Rock training in Denver, Colorado. Each teacher received a full scholarship to attend the three-day Little Kids Rock Modern Band Summit in Colorado this coming summer in addition to what our amazing partner, Little Kids Rock, provides to all Turnaround Arts schools. Little Kids Rock is national arts program that transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in schools across the nation by training teachers and donating the instruments, curricular resources and support needed to ensure that their kids receive the right to rock!
In early September, Fort Yates Middle School and Standing Rock Elementary School students were extended opportunities to participate in hands-on visual arts projects with teaching artists Jeremy Fields and Nicole Gagner. Jeremy Fields is currently spearheading the initiative called “Re:Define – Healing Trauma in Native American Communities” focused on bringing awareness to the lasting effects of historical/intergenerational trauma and its implications upon the Native American family structure. The initiative takes an in-depth look at the lingering effects of historical trauma and how it relates to mental health, family structure, social disparities, and cultural degradation. As a teaching artist, Jeremy partnered with students and community members at Fort Yates Middle School to create a canvas mural that integrates traditional Indigenous symbols and images seen in nature. Meanwhile at Standing Rock Elementary School, teaching artist Nicole Gagner led students through a series of crayon resist techniques to create unique and patterned papers. Older students used these papers to create a variety of feathers which were then combined into a large mural aimed to inspire students with the phrase, “Until you spread your wings, you will never know how high you can fly!” Nicole, students, teachers and yes…. even Turnaround Artist Dave Matthews were excited to pose for a photo with the completed mural. We encourage you to stop by and snap a photo of your own during your next school visit!
On October 30, Governor of North Dakota Doug Burgum and the Innovative Education Task Force visited Fort Yates Middle School to hear from Principal Cari Kramer and members of her staff as they shared the integrated approaches being implemented to meet the needs of their students. Turnaround Arts, along with Restorative Justice and project-based learning, is already having a positive impact on school culture and climate, student attendance, and parent and community connections.
“Art strikes below the barriers that separate human being from each other…Art renders [people] aware of their union with one another in origin and destiny.” – John Dewey