Arts & cultural education programs for schools, 2021-2022

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18 Degrees

Music

Upper Elementary; High School

Kids 4 Harmony

A free intensive classical musical program for youth in Pittsfield and North Adams.  Inspired by El Sistema model of music for social justice change, Kids 4 Harmony focuses on musical excellence to grow skills and confidence, engage families, and build community.

Rap, Inc. 

Rap Inc. is a new youth development pilot program using the art and business of hip-hop music to draw upon and develop the talents and interests of young people – particularly young people of color,  as a way to build greater self-sufficiency. Rap Inc. provides young people with a true-to-life laboratory to acquire and grow the skills involved in the field of hip-hop music, to help overcome the life challenges, which so often stop them from reaching for and achieving their own visions for their lives. With a design specifically for teens, and by drawing upon an art form that is born of African-American culture and embraced by young people, the program engages them in a process of learning industry skills and applying those skills to launching a rapper and producing a showcase performance.

18 Degrees youth programs are open to students in all Berkshire County districts.

CONTACT: Trevor Wheelock, 413-597-1259

B4 the Other Creations

Play

Middle School; High School

Young Artist POP Theater 

The Play mindset allows us to have an evolving mindset. Throughout these play sessions we will explore theater through B4 The Other’s POP (Pedagogy Of Play). B4 The Other's work is enriched with social emotional learning and trauma informed care developed from over a decade of community outreach. Sessions run throughout the year over 7 week courses and weeklong camps.

 

Pedagogy of Play: Options & Opportunities  B4 The Other Creations strives to build stronger communities by holding space for a universal experience through the Pedagogy of Play. Changing the language to change the story by deep diving into the core values of effort, choice, buoyancy, generosity, and vulnerability. Paving a path of Vibrational Activism in our everyday world. This seven week courses is for adults looking for embodied professional development and accountable community. POP happens through zoom for seven week sessions, meeting on Sunday evenings.

 

Play Filled Leadership and Mindfulness building in the Work Place  B4 The Other leads teams, staff, administration in one off and weeklong residencies to further play, leadership, and mindfulness in the workplace.

CONTACT: Malia'Kekia Niccolini, 352-584-7460

Barrington Stage Company

Theatre

Upper Elementary; Middle School

KidsAct!

KidsAct! is an exciting theatre program for students ages 7–11, which is focused on building acting and communication skills through fun theatre games. Students will create an original musical with their peers to be performed on the final day of the program. Students will also experience master classes from professional theatre and performing artists!

TeensAct!

TeensAct! is a beloved theatre program, designed for ages 12–14, which is focused on building performance skills through ensemble-based work, improvisation, and individualized coaching. Students will create an original musical with their peers to be performed on the final day of the program. Students will also experience master classes from professional theatre and performing artists! 

Barrington Stage Company's education programs have reached students in the following districts:

  • Pittsfield Public Schools

  • Mount Greylock Regional School District

CONTACT: Jane O'Leary, 413-997-6117

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Nature/

Environment

Early Childhood, Upper Elementary, Middle School

Farm and Garden School Programs

Berkshire Botanical Garden brings hands-on programming to schools and community sites, both during and after school. We offer year-round, site-based cirricula and instruction for elementary through middle school students. Working in tandem with our educators, students engage in challenging and meaningful work both in the classrooms and in their school gardens, with each program uniquely catered to the needs of the school community. Students participating in these programs learn plant and ecosystem science through hands-on activities focused on the food system and its effect on our environment, our health, and our communities. Experiential and service learning models are emphasized as students design and implement projects using both horticultural and entrepreneurial skills.Through innovative lessons, students explore a range of topics including Next Generation Science Standards, food systems, leadership and social-emotional learning, with programs running from five weeks to 12 months. For more information about how to bring BBG's programming to your school or site please contact BBG Education coordinator

BBG school programs have previously reached students in:

- Berkshire Hills Regional School District

- Lenox Public Schools

- Pittsfield Public Schools

- Richmond Consolidated School

CONTACT: Kessa McEwen, 413-931-3194

Berkshire Pulse

Dance

All grades

In-School Programs

In-school/afterschool programs: Introduction to Dance; Cultural Traditions: The Music and Dance of Africa; Math and Drumming; Breaking for Beginners

Berkshire Pulse’s In-School Programs recognize the importance of creative learning and its ability to bring dynamism to the learning process while helping children uncover their hidden talents, find their voice, and build strength and confidence. Research validates that students with high levels of arts engagement from kindergarten through elementary school show higher test scores than students with lower levels of arts engagement over the same period.

Arts education that specifically involves dance and assists in the development of specific skills like physical coordination, interpersonal communication, rhythm and related math skills, and multicultural awareness. The physical exercises involved in dance stimulate mental alertness, attention to detail, and memorization skills. Through dance, students learn important skills, like how to pick up new ideas quickly, to pay attention to small details, and to focus on the task at hand. Most importantly, students learn to respect each other and work together as a community that honors each participant.

Our in-school programs also provide a learning environment that is particularly supportive of children with kinetic and auditory learning styles, a segment of the student population that is often harder to serve. 

Berkshire Pulse's education programs have previously reached students in the following districts:

  • Berkshire Hills Regional School District

  • Central Berkshire Regional School District

  • Lee Public Schools

  • Lenox Public Schools

  • Mount Greylock Regional School District

  • Pittsfield Public Schools

  • Southern Berkshire Regional School District

CONTACT: Kim Waterman, 413-274-6624

Berkshire Theatre Group

Drama

All grades

BTG PLAYS! Year-Round Education Program - Touring Performances

Beginning in October and continuing through the school year, BTG’s young artists perform an original play at dozens of venues throughout the region. These well-crafted productions are appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students. Designed to introduce students to the excitement of live theatre, a question and answer session follows each performance. For the 2021-2022 school year BTG will be touring Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS based on Magic Tree House book #1.

Berkshire Theatre Group's education programs have previously reached students in the following districts:

  • Berkshire Hills Regional School District

  • Hoosac Valley Regional School District

  • Pittsfield Public Schools

CONTACT: Allison Rachele Bayles, 413-448-8084 x19

Community Access to the Arts

All artforms

All grades

CATA in the Schools provides arts workshops to students with disabilities in area high schools and middle schools. Many of these students do not participate in mainstream art classes and, without CATA, would have little exposure to the arts in their curriculum.

 

In many cases, CATA provides additional support as students transition out of high school, working with special education teachers on IEPs and offering continued access to CATA workshops after graduation. Students in high schools represent the next generation of CATA artists.

Education programs available for students with disabilities:

Creative Writing

Dance & Creative Movement

Drumming (Virtual)

Juggling

Music & Songwriting

Storytelling & Acting

Theater

Visual Art

Yoga

CATA reaches special education students in the following districts:

  • North Adams Public Schools (high school) 

  • Lenox Public Schools (high school)

  • Hoosac Valley Regional School District (middle & high school)

  • Central Berkshire Regional School District (middle & High school)

  • Lenox Public Schools (high school)

  • Lee Public Schools (high school)

  • Berkshire Hills Regional School District (middle & high school)

  • Southern Berkshire Regional School District (high school)

  • Pittsfield Public Schools (all grade levels)

  • Taconic Hills Regional School District (high School)

CONTACT: Jeff Gagnon,  (413) 528-5485

Flying Cloud Institute

STEAM

Upper Elementary;

Middle School;

High School

Girls Science Clubs are weekly after school science programs for girls grades 3 - 6 at participating schools. Women scientists volunteer their time and work alongside high school girls as mentors. These mentors assist the visiting scientists in leading hands-on laboratory activities with the elementary and middle school club members each week. During the 90-minute lab sessions girls explore fascinating topics not usually presented to younger students. Girls keep a lab book and prepare a showcase of their activities for their parents and friends at the end of each session.

MakerSpace: Available at Southern Berkshire Regional School District

STEAM and Science Kits: Available during STEM week at MCLA and a link to request a free kit will go live on 10/11

Flying Cloud Institute reaches students in the following districts:

  • Berkshire Hills Regional School District 

  • Lee Public School

  • Pittsfield Public Schools

  • Richmond Consolidated School

  • Southern Berkshire Regional School District 

  • Region 1 in Connecticut schools

CONTACT: Maria Rundle,  413-645-3058

Hancock Shaker Village

Folk arts; nature/agriculture

All grades

ZOOM with Baby Animals
School visits are a huge part of our educational programming here at Hancock Shaker Village. While we cannot allow group visits at this time, we have developed a virtual way to connect with your students through a Zoom session with our farm animals. Our lambs, calves, pigs, goats, chickens, donkeys, turkeys, ducks, and even our barn cat will be happy to see you!

If you are interested in arranging a tour, please contact our director of education. Pricing is dependent on the number of Zoom users attending the tour. We hope you’ll join us. Thanks for all you do to keep our children educated during this difficult time.

Hancock Shaker Village has reached students in both public and private Berkshire County schools.

CONTACT: Cindy Dickinson, 413-443-0188 x213

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires

Visual arts

All grades

IS183 Art School's After-School & Out-of-School Art Programs
IS183 Art School ensures that people throughout the county have access to hands-on experience in the visual arts. Our programs for young artists in the schools use two curricula - Learning Through Arts and ARTcentric: Berkshires - to bring the studio art experience directly to the desk of Berkshire County's students.

Learning Through Arts
IS183’s LTA program is an approach to arts integration that makes connections across multiple, rigorous disciplines while teaching conflict resolution and social emotional skills. It uses art-making as a tool to improve academics and behavior, while allowing students to make interdisciplinary connections, experiment with new mediums, and learn advanced art techniques. LTA students have the freedom to experiment with advanced art techniques and mediums, create unique work, and find their voice, while reinforcing academic curriculum goals. Student artists explore new ways of looking at and responding to the world around them and learn skills that resonate long after they have left the program.

ARTcentric:Berkshires
IS183's ARTcentric: Berkshires program positions local, established, Berkshire artists as “the masters” with each project inspired by their techniques and artistic visions. Through "Artist Spotlight" handouts, "About the Artist" and "Deep Dive" videos, and other live, video-based, and virtual resources, students will dive into the life and work of each artist and use their passion and mastery as inspiration for engaging, multi-media art projects. Led by IS183's talented faculty Artists, in ARTcentric: Berkshires, students will be introduced to artists, virtually "visit" their studios, hear about their journey to become professional artists, and finally create work using the same techniques. Students will assign a deeper meaning to the art they see in the county and develop a pride of place as they learn about the talent in our region. The program gives new definitions to “artists” and “art”, takes artists out of history books, and opens up possibilities for future careers.

IS183 Art School has reached students in the following districts (Spring 2022 programs starred):
- Pittsfield Public Schools*
- Southern Berkshire Regional School District*
- Central Berkshire Regional School District*
- North Adams Public Schools
- Berkshire Hills Regional School District
- Lenox Public Schools
- Lee Public Schools*
- Mount Greylock Regional School District
- Montessori School of the Berkshires*
- Richmond Consolidated School*

 

CONTACT: Brielle Rizzotti, 413-298-5252 x102

Maichack Arts

Storytelling; Music

Early Elementary; Upper Elementary

Professional Development

Mary Jo has developed a method that fuses her performance experience with putting teachers into the driving seat as storytellers and teachers of language arts.
At workshops, Mary Jo models telling various kinds of stories, with the emphasis on traditional folktales. She builds comfort and a safe, supportive environment for participants, beginning with simple story skill-building tasks, such as describing something in their homes. Over the course of a typical 1 1/2 hour workshop, teachers learn by witnessing and by immediate practice — retelling tales to partners, watching Mary Jo weave music into a story so kids can sing along, chant along when teachers return to the classroom — or parents to their homes.

School Residencies

Residencies are a special way to make a much closer connection and deeper impact in oral literacy by having regular in-class visits by Mary Jo. Activities include model storytelling, and kids sing, tell stories, practice their oral presentation skills. They learn how to root for each other. Mary Jo meets with 3-4 classrooms per day, for 45 minutes to an hour each. You can have a kick-off and/or culminating concert, too, and include parent night and/or professional development piece for teachers who want to learn the importance and practice of storytelling in their classrooms: “Tell It! Sing It! Move It!

An Integrated Arts Approach to Story Immersion & Oral Literacy”– because brain/learning research shows that students learn when the subject is meaningful and relevant, when their emotions are engaged, when they get to be physical, when it’s funny, and when they also get to relax and feel safe.

Literacy/Common Core Re-Envisioned

Mary Jo Maichack’s method of interactive, playful programs/residencies of storytelling, music & drama are beloved by teachers, librarians, principals, cultural and humanities councils, museums, and most importantly, KIDS. Why? They serve up Common Core in the way kids listen–You have to tune in to THEIR “channel” to get it to work. Mary Jo tells multicultural tales her varied audiences relate to (from Aesop’s fables to pourquoi tales, fairy tales–see show guide for idea of how huge her repertoire is). When she tells a folktale, she weaves in chants, rhymes, sound effects, even choruses, so the audience is always engaging, waiting for a cue and responding. They are DOING. In a typical pre-k – 5 residency or classroom workshop, they may try out a Native American frame drum, practice turning and retelling a tale with fingers to a listening buddy. They dance while rhyming, move as characters in a play (SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY). Sometimes one kid pretends to be Goldilocks and other kids interview her to ask her point of view on what happened at the Three Bears’ House that morning. Sometimes puppets tell the tale. Sometimes Mary Jo tosses that puppet to a teacher to have him/her take over the role. Sometimes kids may watch a tale drawn, or they may wear costumes to act. It is a whole body, creative experience and as it happens, they are totally into it. At the very same time, they are engaging in Common Core activities. Hey, you can act out the life of a snowflake, growth of a bean, count the characters.  THE WHOLE CURRICULUM can come into play.

Maichack Arts has reached schools across the region. Contact Mary Jo for more information.

CONTACT: Mary Jo Maichack, 413-563-3950

WAM Theatre

Theatre

High School

Student Matinee Performance of Cadillac Crew

About the performance: Four female activists are working in a Virginia civil rights office on the day of a much anticipated speech by Rosa Parks. From the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, CADILLAC CREW illuminates forgotten leaders who blazed the trail for desegregation and women’s rights. With remarkable insight and unexpected humor, the play asks, what happens when Black women refuse to be written out of history. CADILLAC CREW is presented at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse, 70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA 01240.

Presented in special partnership with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

WAM Theatre has reached students in Central Berkshire Regional School District, Pittsfield Public Schools, and Southern Berkshire Regional School District. 

CONTACT: Talya Kingston, 413-310-4241

County-wide Arts Education

A 2017 snapshot of arts education in Berkshire County school districts