The Ancestor Project
Manzanita Community School, Fruitvale District (2008)
OFFTA funded artist residencies through ALICE (Arts and Literacy in Children’s Education) that provided a 10-week theatre, dance, and visual arts residency to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students. The program celebrated the vast diversity of cultures that exists within the school community and further developed the heritage and arts curriculum, The Ancestor Project. Third and fourth graders recorded stories from their parents or grandparents, and under the artists’ guidance, created a dance and theatre piece based on those oral histories. Second graders created masks that represented their ethnic background. As a culminating event, the students performed for their families and the larger school community and exhibited original artwork. The children learned not only the basics of the visual and performing arts, but gained a deeper understanding of their own cultures as well as those of others.