This is the second post I’ve written (read the first one here) about exposing ourselves and our children to more positive images of black culture. Inspired by this article, I’ve decided it’s time to leverage arts instruction to increase visibility of black excellence and culture. In order to counter the harmful effects of anti-black racism in our country, ALL children (black, white, Asian, etc.) need more exposure to positive images of black culture.
I love the fact that we have many great arts programs currently running in our public schools. Nonetheless, I’m wondering how diverse are they? As far as my daughter’s experience goes, it really hasn’t been that inclusive of African-American or Latino culture. This year, I’d like to see more SFUSD Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) programs in all schools (not just schools with a high population of black youth) that celebrate the beauty, vibrance, talent and joy of the black culture.
The following is my short list of arts non-profits that have great family/school programs with a strong connection to African-American culture.
“MoAD offers programs that showcase the art, history, and cultural richness of the African Diaspora. Our goal is to explore and celebrate the beliefs, practices, traditions, and customs connected to these movements.”
Explore these online resources:
- Explore slavery narratives as read by Maya Angelou.
- Get to know pioneering African Americans who settled Bayview-Hunter’s Point
Expose your kids to the classics, “in color”! Seeing the African-American Shakespeare Company’s twist on Cinderella is always a treat. (Be sure to buy tickets for your kids well in advance as they SELL OUT!) It’s a great way to start conversations with little ones about ways we can be more inclusive in casting classics in non-traditional ways. (Why can’t black men and women be princesses, heroes and heroines?)
Other productions are better suited for older kids:
FREE matinee performances!
“Bring the classics to life with our productions. Your class can attend a free student matinee performance of our productions. Our student matinees are every Thursday during the production run. We encourage your class to stay a few minutes after the show so our actors can answer any questions your students may have. Register your class by filling out our sign-up form.”
Teacher’s Night Out
“Teachers can preview plays at the special complimentary Teacher’s Night Out event. Enjoy wine and light refreshments while previewing our productions. Register by filling out our sign-up form.” Performances start October 16, 2015. Click here for more info.
Jazz is a uniquely American art form pioneered by African-American musicians. Go to the SF Jazz Center website to learn more about family and school programs. Here are two I plan to check out:
“These affordably priced family-friendly concerts are a great way for you to pass your love of jazz onto the next generation. Bring the kids, the grandkids, and the neighbor’s kids to the gorgeous new SFJAZZ center for an engaging, entertaining and interactive musical experience.”
Some matinees include a family workshop, click here to learn more about how to sign up or request tickets for a small community or school group.
“Jazz in the Middle fosters connections between core subjects and the arts. Public Middle School students learn jazz concepts, experience music performance, and write creatively.”
Or, watch a video about it here
Are there other Bay Area Arts nonprofits that should be included on this list? How can we expose more young people to positive images of black culture and artistic expression?
Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.
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