Saturday, January 29, 2011

A day at Community Music Works

On January 24th the Abreu Fellows went on a road trip to visit Community Music Works in Providence Rhode Island. This is a trip we have been anxiously anticipating. Last semester we spent a day of seminars with Chloe Kline (Education Director for CMW) and Sebastian Ruth (CMW's Founder and Artistic Director). You may remember me blogging about their advice on building an organization based on your beliefs.

Our day trip started early in Boston on what seems to have been the coldest day this winter so far. Our train to Providence was late due to tracks freezing. Nevertheless, we arrived safely and were greeted by Stephanie Fortunato who is a Special Projects Manager for the City of Providence's Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism. Stephanie gave us a warm welcome and spoke to us about the City's dedicated efforts to promoting Arts and Culture. She emphasized to us Providence's goal of being a model and resource to the rest of the nation's cities who are looking to strengthen their community based cultural plans.
Stephanie and Sebastian welcoming us to Providence
We spent some time touring Providence by van. Our first stop was at AS220 which is a non-profit community arts space in downtown Providence.
While at AS220 we got a chance to hear from Humberto Crenca who is the Artistic Director.
Chloe and Sebastian then took us to visit a site that is very special to Community Music Works. A lovely community center where they got their start. Although CMW is housed at a different site today, they continue to offer concerts here.

Liz at the West End Community Center

After our wonderful tour, we arrived at the home of CMW where we received a warm welcome by several of their staff and musicians....and pastries! As we have been learning throughout this Fellowship, food is an important part of community and fellowship. Thanks CMW for such a warm and yummy welcome!

Steven excited about the pastries

While at CMW we talked about a lot of things. It would take me weeks to properly blog and cover all the topics we covered. I want to give you an idea of some of the conversations that happened between the Abreu Fellows and CMW. We talked about the importance of acknowledging the challenges the communities we intend to serve are facing. We have to have patience when young people, we are working with, exemplify these challenges.

We discussed the very complex topic of why people come to concerts and all the different concert experiences that exist today. We took special time to discuss our role as teaching artists and the example we provide to our students all the while acknowledging how their experience going to concerts can and is so different to ours.

We talked about ways to create government supported avenues to help support our projects, whether this is possible or not. CMW's approach to this should be modeled everywhere. They ask themselves: 'how can we support our city in its agenda as much as it can support us?'

We finished our day thinking of "Fellowships for the 21st century musician" which was perfect because we started our discussions at CMW listing words that we associate with "Residency".

Liz, David, Andrea, and Laura on the cold train heading to Providence
I wish I could have recorded the whole day and been able to share it with you, but these pictures will have to be it for now. Enjoy!

Andrea, Liz, and David at Community Music Works

Community Music Works staff and musicians
Walking into the West End Community Center where CMW got its start
Bert, Steven, and Sebastian at AS220
Liz and Laura taking a break at Community Music Works

Andrea, Liz, and I at Community Music Works

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