Home News Vision Spotlight: Family After Hours returns in a new form

Spotlight: Family After Hours returns in a new form

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Christina Stock Photo Family After Hours in 2019 provided a unique art experience, including plein air (outdoor) painting. This year's collaboration between the Roswell Museum and Art Center and Roswell Independent School District Creative Learning Center's Arts Connect program will take place outdoors in heated tents.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

The collaborative event between Roswell Independent School District’s Creative Learning Center with its Arts Connect program and the Roswell Museum and Art Center (RMAC), Family After Hours, returns for the third time. It had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

This year’s Family After Hours will have a COVID-19-safe concept, Caroline Brooks wrote in an email. Brooks is the executive director of RMAC.

“It’s a great opportunity to connect with our community’s kids and families and to inspire budding artists,” Brooks wrote. “We still have COVID and safety in mind, so will be offering the activities outdoors in heated tents to give a bit more social distancing.”

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The activities are free of charge and include materials, Abie Smith said in a phone interview. She is the Arts Connect principal for the Creative Learning Center.

“We will have all the materials for families to participate in the activities that they want to and we’ll have two different entrances off of Richardson (Avenue) and 11th Street. We won’t be clear down towards Main (Street); we’ll be back a little bit,” Smith said.

The theme this year is based on RMAC’s exhibition, “A Lucky Escape: The Wild World of William Goodman.”

“We have a lot of exciting activities planned,” Smith said. “We’re going to have three different visual arts tents and activities and three performing arts activities for families to join in. The thing with RMAC has always been to bring families in to see the museum and be in a really artful space. That is not necessarily going to happen, though small groups may be able to go in (the museum). We still really appreciate RMAC’s support, and their team is going to be out there with us as well. And I think they have some exciting opportunities and prizes for families that will be showing up. We really appreciate that collaboration with them and are looking forward to (doing) some events again. We are doing it outside so we can move around a little bit easier and not have people clustered together too much. (There will be) lots of space for performing arts activities. It’s exciting.”

The activities are geared toward grades K-6. Some of the activities are making kinetic sculptures, marble paintings, homemade wind chimes and jingle hand bells.

“This year, we are going to teach the kids and their families how they can make their own instruments with items around the house. We are really striving to make sure that we are having COVID-safe practices and not sharing materials and things like that. It will not look exactly the same, but we are doing our best to provide extended time for collaboration with families, my teachers from the Creative Learning Center, Arts Connect, as well as learning about RMAC and the opportunities they have for families and students there,” Smith said.

“We missed seeing our families,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a great time for parents to work with their kids and create art. It is awesome for kids to see creating is not just for kids. It continues on through older adulthood, and it’s great to see their parents involved in that. We don’t want the parents just (standing) on the side. We want them all creating as well and participating.”

During last year’s pandemic, RMAC and the Creative Learning Center remained in touch with the children, finding creative alternatives and safe methods to provide art experiences, which included purchasing sidewalk chalk that families could pick up at RMAC. Brooks said in an earlier interview that RMAC continued assisting the Arts Connect program because of its therapeutic value. During the stressful months when New Mexico was under lockdown, art was a creative outlet for children and the families, who were isolated from friends, family and the community.

Arts and creativity are essential to the development of children, which multitudes of school associations acknowledged when the pandemic hit. The Arts Ed New Jersey, the performing arts affiliate for the National Federation of State High School Associations, released a video in September about the importance of artistic expression and arts education to young people’s well-being, development and self-esteem during and after the COVID-19 crises. The documentary followed students who were able, thanks to art, to connect with others, heal and, ultimately, be better equipped to return to school.

“The impetus for this project was to document what arts educators and students went through and how they persevered through the pandemic. It was also a way to celebrate their resilience, their creativity and the innovative spirit they showed to muscle through,” Arts Ed New Jersey Director Bob Morrison is quoted as saying on the association’s website. The video is available on Arts Ed New Jersey’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Not to give the pandemic too much credit, but the global crisis brought out a new resilience and creativity when teachers, including art educators, on every level learned new ways to reach their students. As with RMAC, many US art museums, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, worked closely together with their local school’s art programs. In its January newsletter, the museum pointed out how educators reinvented art in school projects with mobile educators and modern technology. The collaboration showed the importance of students being able to work through the complex feelings they were coping with during the pandemic crises. Together with local artists, the county museum created more than 60 videos for K-5 students. The videos were available to educators free of charge.

Family After Hours is free and open to the public and takes place Oct. 28, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., weather permitting. RMAC is located at 1011 N. Richardson Ave. For more information, visit roswellmuseum.org or call 575-624-6744.

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