Nano-Interview with Silas de Oliveira of El Sistema Somerville

Silas de Oliveira of El Sistema SomervilleName: Silas de Oliveira
Organization: El Sistema Somerville
Title: Assistant Artistic Director
Music Genre: Classical
Years in the Field: 16

What do you do at El Sistema Somerville?
I’m responsible for curriculum planning, staff schedule, students engagement activities, parents integration, and etc. …

Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because is a calling to serve my community and my peers. As an immigrant to the USA, I know firsthand the struggles immigrants go through. As a musician, I know how important it is to have exposure to high quality music lessons and instruments. I grew up in Brazil where I was unable to study cello. The only way I had access to music was in a church band learning alto sax and trumpet.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
I would say my connection with the students. I try everyday to make sure that they understand that I’m one of them and no matter how old you are, or how much education you’ve received or any other label society might put on us, we are one. We are humans beings that should respect and be respected. I strive to provide an environment where expressive creativity reigns free.

What challenges you in this work?
My constant awareness of the students’ cultural links, from video games, music hits, movies, lingo, books, etc… I feel that awareness of these factors can have a profound impact in your connectivity with them and their world.

What does it mean to do this work in this community?
I feel that the great Somerville community always has been very welcoming and accepting, and respects and invests in their citizens. Somerville was my first home in the USA, Somerville High School was my first school in the USA, and Somerville String Camp was where I met my beloved music teacher, Rita Ranucci, who inspired me not only to become a cellist, but also a teacher.  I’m honored to be working in the field and continuing her legacy in Somerville.

How do you blow off steam?
There are different things I like to do from skydiving, to sometimes just playing mini golf, or driving to North Conway, NH.

What do you create in your free time?
I love doing research on world cultures, practicing my cello or another instrument to better guide a student.

Whose work in the creative youth development field do you admire and why?
Eric Booth, he inspires me to always rethink, rearrange, and reshape my views, my teaching, and my planning.

What music do you like listen to (if even a little too loudly)?
Currently I’m addicted to Anitta and  Antonio Meneses.

Do you live with any animals?
Yes, my husband and I just got a puppy – a Chow Chow named Bach.

Seen any good movies lately?
Despicable Me 3

What are you currently reading?
Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work by David Rock

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Did He Really?

What’s next?
Having a baby, and hopefully getting my masters in Conducting.

Connect with Silas:
Silasdeoliveira.com
Facebook.com/silas.deoliveira
https://www.linkedin.com/in/silas-de-oliveira-87880145

Creative Youth Development Grants Available

Mass Cultural Council’s YouthReach and SerHacer provide funding for a three-year period to programs that infuse the arts, sciences, and humanities with principles of youth development. Application deadlines for the next three-year cycle are:

  • YouthReach:
    • January 19, 2018 (New Applicants)
    • May 1, 2018 (Returning Applicants)
  • SerHacer: February 15, 2018 (All Applicants)

Register for an information session:

Mass Cultural Council Convenes International CYD Leaders

International CYD Leaders at Boston ConveningIn July, as part of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership’s stakeholders’ meeting, Mass Cultural Council took the opportunity to host a cohort of international guests to spark a conversation on how the field of practice looks around the world.

With a varied roster of national and local agencies, educators, artists, and academia from South Korea, Scotland, India, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand, our guests participated actively in the first two days of the national meeting, getting to know their colleagues and their programs but most importantly our young people, their needs, and their capacity.

After the national convening was over, our international cohort met to distill the findings of the previous days. Led by veteran teaching artist Eric Booth, we engaged in an incredibly fertile conversation, in which different models and approaches were presented, all unified by the importance of empowering young people and nurturing creativity as an integral part of our communities. The richness and diversity helped us prove that the work of Creative Youth Development occurs in a myriad ways, and opened up a larger conversation in finding opportunities to better support it.

We are grateful to have connected with these distinguished guests and thank them  for their outstanding participation and contribution to this gathering:

Mass Cultural Council is committed to continuing these conversations, and in them, we are hoping to bring in as many of our grantees as possible, showcasing them as examples of excellent practice, and always looking for ways to improve our capacity in this exciting field of practice.

Celebrate National Arts Education Week: Sept. 10-16, 2017

National Arts in Education Week Logo
National Arts in Education Week provides a great opportunity to reinforce the vital role of arts learning in our schools and communities.

Mass Cultural Council invests more than $3 million annually in a range of programs that expand access to arts education in classrooms and beyond across the Commonwealth. We are a national leader in the growing, dynamic field of creative youth development. And with MASSCreative, Arts/Learning and others, we advocate for the arts in debates on education policy and funding.

“The arts foster success in school and after graduation; help students develop discipline and grit; grow their problem-solving skills; and challenge them to deeper thinking, more effective communication, and greater civic engagement,”

– Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Education.

We encourage our partners to use this week to share your stories about why arts education matters to you and the young people in your community. Please join the celebration by:

  • Sharing your story: This year, we want to highlight the impact of arts education in your life. Use #BecauseOfArtsEd on social media and tell us how Arts Ed impacts your life by tagging @MassCultural. You can also use #ArtsEdWeek.
  • Learning more: Check out this toolkit to find a series of ways to join in the national celebration.

Participate in the First-Ever Field Survey on CYD

Americans for the Arts is administering the first-ever field survey on Creative Youth Development on behalf of the Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Partnership. Organizations and programs were invited to participate in the survey on Aug. 23, 2017 and are encouraged to complete the survey trough the unique link sent to them on that date. Questions about the survey may be sent to artseducation@artsusa.org. Others wishing to participate in the study, can do so at the following link: https://surveys.americansforthearts.org/s3/2017-CYDP-Survey.

Youth Arts Advocates Represent

This Spring, while most Boston teens enjoyed a week off from school, over 50 high school students and youth workers gathered for the 3rd Annual Youth Arts Action Retreat at Zumix in East Boston. Facilitated by MassCreative’s Tracie Konopinski, students brainstormed ways to help their local communities thrive, learned the value of storytelling skills in advocacy, and how to use their art and their voices to take action in their communities.

Participating organizations included the Boch Center, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Community Art Center, Hyde Square Task Force, Sociedad Latina, Zumix, Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA), Urbanity Dance, and the Mayor’s Youth Council of Boston. Students learned the value of storytelling skills in advocacy and how to take action in their communities.

After a morning of theory and lectures, young people used their talents in music, dance, theatre, poetry, and art to explore what Boston would look like without art. They later performed these pieces open mic style. Teens said they looked forward to engaging deeper in advocacy with elected officials around the role of the arts and the state arts budget.

Podcast: Ancient Dance Emboldens Youth’s Future

Linda SouOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Linda Sou about Angkor Dance Troupe.

For 30 years, Angkor Dance Troupe has been a creative youth development leader in Lowell, MA, a city with the second-largest Cambodian population in the United States. Angkor connects families to what it means to be Khmer, gives young people opportunity, and shares beautiful stories of the Khmer people and their cultural heritage.

Linda Sou was there from day one. At the age of three, she began her training with Angkor Dance Troupe and would grow up to become its executive director. She shares what it means to preserve and share a nearly-lost art form.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Ms. Sou was also a lead subject in the documentary film, “Monkey Dance” by Julie Mallozzi which has been screened throughout the United States to raise awareness on intergenerational challenges facing Cambodian youth:.

Nano-Interview with Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity

Deb Habib standing in a field of tall grass, holding a bouquet of fresh cut flowersName: Deb Habib
Organization: Seeds of Solidarity
Title: Co-Founder and Director
Artistic Genre: Supporting all that is beautiful
Years in the field: 30ish

What do you do at Seeds of Solidarity?
Our mission is to ‘Awaken the power of youth, schools, and families to Grow Food Everywhere, to transform hunger to health, and create resilient lives and communities.’ I envision and run programs, and support staff to help our mission blossom and remain innovative. SOL (Seeds of Leadership) Garden for youth is our core and longest running program, and engages young people in using their bodies, minds, and hearts to cultivate food and a hopeful future.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
Forming and sustaining community partnerships and relationships—not that this is easy, but it is very gratifying, unites diverse people and organizations, and enables good work to multiply and strengthen our communities.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
Our motto is Grow Food Everywhere and in addition to SOL Garden, we help create gardens at local childcare centers, libraries, the county jail, health centers, and for people in recovery, plus have taught 1000s of people techniques to build healthy soil and grow food on lawns, lots, or in containers. We also started the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival with our neighbors, now a dynamic venue that supports local artists, performers and farmers while energizing our low-income rural community.

How do you blow off steam?
Dance around the house, re-center with yoga, or go out into nature for healing.

What do you create in your free time?
Writing, photography, pottery, and love to create meals of the food we grow on our farm to serve my family and whoever is at our table.

Seen any good movies lately?
The Eagle Huntress was beautiful.

What are you reading?
The Third Reconstruction. Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr William J. Barber

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Well, soon there will be an authorized one, albeit more memoir/motivational than biography. My husband Ricky and I are currently writing “Making Love While Farming: A Field Guide to a Life of Passion and Purpose.”

What’s next?
Carry on with resilience and love!

National Stakeholders to Convene Next Week

On July 24 and 25, the Creative Youth Development National Partnership will host nearly 100 leaders from across sectors in Boston for the 2017 CYD National Stakeholder Meeting with a charge to broaden and deepen the impact of Creative Youth Development throughout the United States and the world. This group will include practitioners, youth, funders, policy makers, thought leaders, researchers and government officials who all recognize CYD as a vehicle for positive youth outcomes.

Read more.

Creative Youth Development

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