Our fall and winter of 2023 was filled with laughter, friendships, and, of course, ART! We visited theatres across the Seacoast to witness the power of live performances, and created our own original artwork along the way. From crafting disguises to writing poetry, we covered a lot of ground in these past few months. In this blog, I invite you to join an exploration of AIR’s diverse, fun programming!
Thirst for Freedom at NH Theatre Project
On September 29th, we kicked off our fall programming with a trip to NHTP to see Thirst For Freedom! This powerful play introduced us to the story of Ona Judge. Ona was a woman who escaped enslavement by George and Martha Washington to start a new life in Portsmouth, NH. Seda Tuncok was amazing as Ona, delivering a powerful, compelling performance that touched our hearts. Thirst for Freedom was co-produced by Jukwaa Mazoa Theatre Productions and in association with The Black Heritage Trail of NH and The Players’ Ring. Thank you to NHTP for offering us discounted tickets, allowing us to bring our teens to experience your stage!
The Art of Disguise
In preparation for Halloween, we hosted two disguise workshops in October! Each workshop catered to our two primary age groups: ArtVentures (11-13) and AIR Artists (14-18). We encouraged artists to draw inspiration from our plethora of supplies for their artwork. Some of the supplies included: cheerleading pom-poms, clown noses, fake flowers, Halloween spider rings, metal springs, movie glasses with the lenses popped out, sequins and beads, and more! Many masks and headpieces drew inspiration from nature, using flowers and animals to create camouflages perfect for a forest. Other creations included a pink clown mask, a cheerleading pom-pom headband, a mustached paper bag mask, and a steampunk masquerade mask. Thank you to the Community Church of Durham for donating the space for us to have this workshop!
At Imagination Station, we embarked on a creative journey into the world of drawing with artists aged 11-13! Cara, AIR’s Program Director, was the teaching artist for this program, leading inspiring projects to further develop our drawing abilities. Participants tried out contour drawings, drew beanie babies and flowers from life, and brought their original ideas to paper. Also, we used leftover supplies from the disguises workshops to create mini-monster muses. After building the creatures, we used spotlights, charcoal and large pieces of paper to draw our tiny creatures as giant monsters! It was amazing to see how much work they created in just a few weeks. Thank you to the Community Church of Durham for donating the space for us to have this program!
Pizza and Poetry
On October 20th we teamed up with Seacoast Outright to put on a poetry workshop featuring Portland, ME’s Poet Laureate Maya Williams! This workshop featured pizza and celebrated the release of Maya’s second poetry collection, Refused A Second Date. The workshop featured Maya reading poetry from their book, answering questions about their process and writing background, and leading us in a few writing prompts. Curious about Maya’s poetry and professional work? You can learn more at mayawilliamspoet.com. Thank you to Community Campus for donating the space to for this workshop! Also, thank you to Flatbread for donating delicious pizza!
Beads, Bling, and Beyond
At Beads, Bling, and Beyond we used beads and other odds and ends to create one-of-a-kind, all-gender accessories! Liliana, AIR’s Program Coordinator, was the teaching artist for this program, sharing inspiring prompts with us to guide the jewelry-making. One of the prompts was “Amulets of Intention” in which we made items that were created with a specific focus in mind, such as a keychain that helps you find lost things. Another prompt was “Bestie Beads” in which we paired up and crafted jewelry for each other based on our interests and personalities. Thank you to the Community Church of Durham for donating the space for us to have this program!
The Addams Family at Rochester Opera House
On November 2nd we ventured to the Rochester Opera House to see The Addams Family! The show was incredibly funny, and we found the costumes, singing, and performance to be incredibly inspiring. After the show, an AIR artist immediately had outfit ideas for one of their OC’s (original characters) based on a costume one of the “ancestors” wore in the show. Thank you to the Rochester Opera House for giving us discounted tickets, enabling us to share a magical evening of live theatre with our teens!
Virtual Craft Club
On December 4th, we hosted our first virtual event in over a year! A small group of us got together on Zoom to have fun conversations and co-work on craft projects. It was really nice to connect with new teens and teens that live farther away from our programs. Some creations from the craft club include drawings of a possum eating cheez-its, a slug with mittens in a snowglobe, and Mickey Mouse from memory. It was a nice change of pace from our usual programming. We hope to do these Virtual Craft Clubs more often in the new year!
The Sound of Music at The Music Hall
On December 7th we took a trip to The Music Hall to see the Tony-Award winning musical The Sound of Music! It was many of our teens’ first time visiting The Music Hall, which made the trip even more special. Thank you to The Music Hall for donating popcorn and tickets for us to bring the teens to experience the performance! Also, thank you to The Music Hall for donating vouchers for teens and families to see it on their own!
You’ve Got Snail Mail
On December 15th, a group of older AIR teens and alums got together for a cozy and crafty evening of card-making! We explored the art of papercraft by creating one-of-a-kind cards for our friends and family. Not only is snail mail fun- it also relieves stress, enhances creativity, boosts cognitive functions like problem-solving and memory, and helps us feel connected! Thank you to the Community Church of Durham for donating the space for us to have this workshop!