Inspiring Aspirations & Hopeful Thinking

I just wasn’t feeling it this week; there was just too much getting in the way – spring colds and strep throat, the hectic nature of the waning school year, these relentless gray skies! And the ever-present doubt that wonders, “What the heck am I even doing with this blog, anyway?” 

Then I happened upon Ms. Adora Svitak, by the grace of TED and the Internet.  And listening to her speak reminded me exactly what I’m doing; she lifted me up out of these moody blues.  Gray skies be damned, I say!  I’m dwelling in “inspiring aspirations and hopeful thinking”

The Sun Will Come Out …

Oh man, I hope so!  In the meantime, mark your calendars –

“Auditions for “Annie, Jr.”, the Bristol Theatre Company‘s summer musical, are on Sunday, May 22nd from 3pm ’til 8pm at The Children’s Workshop at 410 Child Street in Warren.  Children ages 6 to 18 are invited to audition for character, choral, and dance roles.  Those auditioning should prepare a song from “Annie” and be ready to learn a short dance routine (no flip-flops, please).  “Annie, Jr.” is based on the comic strip, “Little Orphan Annie”, and features the iconic songs, “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard-Knock Life”.  Key characters are Annie, Daddy Warbucks, Miss Hannigan, Grace Farrell, Rooster, and a host of orphans.  Production dates are August 4th through August 7th and August 12th through August 14th at the Roger Williams University Performing Arts Center in Bristol.  For more information send an email to or call Chris at 447-1863.”

-from the “Around Town” section of the Bristol Phoenix

This is the second opportunity we’ve found for children’s theater in Bristol and Warren this summer; earlier we posted about the RI Youth Theatre’s production of “Seussical, Jr.” (read more here).  And, for the adults,

The Barn Summer Playhouse will hold auditions for John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable” on Thursday and Friday, May 26th and 27th, at 7pm at Roger Williams University’s Performing Arts Center in Bristol.  Needed are three women and one man.  Auditions will consist of cold readings.  The production will be directed by Peter Wright and will run July 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, and 16th.  Rehearsals will begin June 1st.  “Doubt” is a powerful drama about Sister Aloysius, principal of St. Nicholas School in the Bronx, who takes matters into her own hands when she feels certain the young Father Flynn has had improper relations with one of the male students of her school.  The play is a provocative investigation of truth and consequences.  It won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award.”

-from the “Around Town” section of the Bristol Phoenix

An invitation

There’s an intriguing event coming up this week.  The Bristol Warren Education Foundation has organized Success 2020, a ‘business after hours’ with Angus Davis at 195 Franklin in Bristol on Thursday, May 19th at 6pm.  Mr. Davis – tech entrepreneur, Swipely founder, and education reformer – is scheduled to speak about the impact of public education on the local economy.  The East Bay Newspapers recently published an interesting profile of Mr. Davis; at one point he says, “Let there be no mistake: the system we have today is designed perfectly for the results we are achieving.”  I’ve long believed that the public school system is standing in its own way, and I’d like to hear what Mr. Davis has to say.  I’d like to have a conversation about the notion that encouraging arts-learning opportunities in our public schools will not only improve our children’s education, but can also strengthen our local economy by building audience for our local arts professionals.  This is one of the founding ideas behind the creation of The Arts Room.  I’d also like to get a taste, quite literally, of 195 Franklin – a gourmet supper club, open only twice a month?  Talk about intriguing!

But I’ve got a schedule conflict, so unless I can figure out how to be in two places at once, I’m going to miss out.  The fact is, I can’t go to every arts-related event in Bristol and Warren (did I ever think I could?).  So I’m taking this opportunity to extend an invitation – if you are among the guests at Thursday night’s event and would like to share your impressions of the evening (especially if the subject of the arts comes up) with the readers of The Arts Room, write us!  You can comment directly on this post, or send an email through the Contact Us page.

Art Camp

Summer Art Camp is my personal favorite, the chance for our kids to spend a solid amount of time exploring their inner artists, while getting respectably well-covered in paint!  Now, if only I could find an art camp for parents…

(read through to the end to find out how to create an at-home summer art camp for your family this year.)

Warren Art Spot at 6 Child Street in Warren is offering a Summer Arts Camp with Lauren Enjeti from July 11th – 23rd in two sessions: from 9am to 11am for kids age 4 to 6 ($250); and from 1pm to 4pm for kids age 7 to 10 ($300):

“Come experience a variety of art in this unique two week program.  Each morning and afternoon session will feature a variety of different art projects, including drawing, painting, collage, and ceramics.  The younger group will spend all their time at the Art Spot.  The older kids will split their time between the Art Spot and Mudstone Studios (a short walk from WAS) where they will work on their ceramics onsite.  Both groups will be guided through several different hand-building techniques to make sculpture and pottery.  Pieces will be fired in the kiln and students will glaze them to create beautiful pottery.”

Call 254-0190 to learn more, or visit their website to download registration forms

Mudstone Studios at 30 Cutler Street in Warren is offering two weeks of summer camp from August 8th through August 19th.  From 10am to 12pm, kids in grades 1-3 can learn several different hand-building techniques while creating beautiful works of art!  From 1pm to 3pm, kids in grades 4-6 take their turn.  Call 401-297-9412 for more information.

Linden Place at 500 Hope Street in Bristol is offering two themed Summer Arts Camp weeks in July: 

“A weekday summer camp focused on the arts, for children ages 6-14, this camp is conducted on the beautiful grounds of Linden Place Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island.  Each day, from 9 a.m. until 2:45 p.m., campers participate in a wide variety of activities from arts and crafts and drama to creative movement and music classes. Each one week session is arranged around a theme and ends with a culminating performance for friends and family.”

The theme for Week 1 (July 11th – 15th) is “Fiesta! Linden Place Takes a Trip South of the Border!” and for Week 2 (July 25th – 29th) the theme is “Safari! Out of Africa!”.  Registration is $160 per child per week (there is a sibling discount and a Members discount).  Call 253-0390 to learn more; and visit their website to download a registration brochure.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum at 101 Ferry Road in Bristol is offering Camp Sequoia Summer Camp for 2011 in eight themed one-week sessions.  Art projects are a part of each camp week, but the first week (July 5th to 8th) may be of particular interest to art-lovers; its theme is “Master Artists”.  Also note the theme of week 6 (August 8th to 12th), “Past & Present – Raiders of the Lost Artifact”.  Find out more about Blithewold’s Camp Sequoia by visiting their website.

Want more options?  Well, with a little planning you can create your own at-home summer art camp for your kids – start by taking a look at all the inspiring projects over at Kids in the Studio!  And remember, if your kids are more theatrically-inclined, they can sign up for the RI Youth Theatre’s East Bay production of “Seussical, Jr.”; if they’re music-lovers, they can participate in the Community String Project’s Summer Strings Program!

introducing The Right Brain Initiative

I wish I could embed their 3-minute video ‘manifesto’ but you’ll just have to click over to their website to view it. 

Right now.  (I’ll wait.)

Wouldn’t it be great to bring this to life here in Bristol and Warren?  Just like us, they were faced with similar financial issues, “…there is not money for doing anything more, only doing things differently.”  And look what they DID!

There’s a School Committee Workshop meeting tonight at 7pm in the cafeteria at Mt. Hope High School.  They’re going to have to start talking about how they plan to reshape our district’s education program to work within the approved budget at some point, and it might be tonight.  I plan to speak in favor of the possibilities, endeavors like The Right Brain Initiative, that we could bring to our district to reshape education for the better.  Will you join me?