A Connecticut Creative Arts Organization

In-School Programs & Special Projects

ASAP! aligns with schools to supplement their curriculum by using the visual and performing arts to engage students academically and foster higher-order thinking skills. These unique programs develop students’ individual creative strengths and talents while giving students the confidence and problem-solving abilities they need to succeed.

ASAP! Composer Project

ASAP! unites artists and community through many of its various projects. For the ASAP! Composer Project with Nonnewaug High School, ASAP! researched and, together with NHS music director Amy Perras, selected a composer to work with students to compose a score for band, orchestra and choir. Beginning in September 2016, composer Gala Flagello met with a group of Nonnewaug students and Amy Perras to brainstorm ideas for the piece. Students provided inspiration for the score through words like: “sense of community”, “empowering”, “tension and release”, and “bold”. Gala composed the score utilizing the students’ vision.Under Amy’s direction, the students will rehearse the piece and teach it to participants of the Nonnewaug Music Festival, where they will celebrate the premiere of this collaboration.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Woodbury-Bethlehem Community Music Foundation and funding from Region 14.

Nurturing Young Artists Project

We are all inherently creative. But somehow, in the process of growing in our world, the artist in each of us isn’t always nurtured. Region 14’s Nurturing Young Artists project with ASAP! celebrates every child as an artist. Children pre-k through second grade are given the opportunity to work with professional artists who are passionate about creativity and experiential learning. Children will be supported in their creative endeavors as they explore and develop their artistic process. Teaching artists Alyssa and Jenna Robb will guide students’ use of organic materials and nature objects to explore new art making techniques, compose artwork, and generate their own art-making rules. Inspired by renowned artist Sol LeWitt, students will invent rules for creating, and ultimately producing a large-scale group project spanning two elementary schools — Mitchell and Bethlehem. The innate collaborative nature of this work encourages students to consider the overarching concept that a diversity of minds, ideas and hands allows the creation of something unexpected and unique. The group pieces will be displayed together in an art show and then permanently in each of the schools.

ASAP!’s Writing Workshop at Children’s Community School

Poetry is the creative exploration of language. It is about a writer sharing with the reader an experience or strong feelings. Poems are written with words chosen for their sounds and beauty as well as their meaning, and they provide an exciting and expressive language element within any classroom. It allows a freedom of expression that enables all students to be successful. Fourth grade students from the Children’s Community School will spend a week with Teaching Artist, Amy Yarbrough. Amy structures an atmosphere where few rules apply and flexibility is encouraged. Students at CCS relax and have fun with images and words. Amy’s only rule is no rhyming! Students will use language to “paint pictures with words”.

Music for the Schools

Established in 2007, the Inter-district Strings Program brings together middle and high school students for the chance to work with musicians from the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (WSO), where they prepare to perform in concert side-by-side with the orchestra. ASAP! recognizes the need for schools to have unique learning experiences provided for them and is working together with the WSO to bring students the rare opportunity of experiencing a live symphony concert as part of their education. This year, ASAP! is proud to present Side-by-Side: The Inter-district Strings Program with the Waterbury Symphony Chamber Orchestra in concert for students across Litchfield and New Haven counties in grades K-12. The concerts will be led by the WSO’s conductor Leif Bjaland at New Milford High School, Litchfield Intermediate School, and Nonnewaug High School.

Music Pilot Program

ASAP! desired to deepen the impact of Music for the Schools for a specific school population in order to further embed arts learning in schools. ASAP! sought and found a strong partner to run this pilot program, which consists of in-school student workshops and teacher training. Region 14 schools, in particular the faculty of Woodbury Middle School, are very forward thinking and welcomed the opportunity to work with WSO musician’s in the classroom to deepen the impact of arts learning, integrate music into other subjects, and provide knowledge, insight, and collaborative planning for teachers.

Community Programs with Pilobolus

This year ASAP! will bring special programs to Newtown and Southbury. We work collaboratively with schools and community organizations to bring together seniors, primary and middle school aged children, and atypical learners for a vibrant experience of creativity and motion with world-renowned dance company Pilobolus.

The Metamorphosis Project

ASAP!’s Metamorphosis Project provides opportunities for students to relate to their science and vocabulary lessons through an experiential process.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth graders from the Children’s Community School visit the Woodbury Reservoir with Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition to learn about aquifers and built model aquifers with found material from the land. As part of a scavenger hunt students see hawks, toads, fish, and other wildlife. Artist, Jenna Robb brings art into nature tie-dyeing t-shirts with the students using water from the reservoir. These hands-on experiences help students to connect to their school subjects and the natural world in a personal way.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from the CT Community Foundation and generous individuals.

The Inter-district Project

The general purpose for the Inter-district Project (IDP) and ASAP!’s Special Projects is to promote cultural diversity among area youth through exposure to the arts. The IDP and ASAP!’s Special Projects encompass the visual, performing, and literary arts plus an environmental program that ties in with writing, theatre, math, history, and science programs. The demand for these programs increased considerably in recent years therefore the program service area was expanded in an effort to reach more students in additional towns. Programs will take place from December 2016-June 2017.

The specific student objectives include: 1) Learning to collaborate with others from diverse backgrounds to achieve common goals; 2) Discovering, through opportunities provided in the arts, new ways to communicate, as well as new ways to look at the world; 3) Working directly with professional teaching artists in multiple genres; 4) Making new friends outside their usual socio-economic circles and developing an understanding of cultural differences and commonalities; 5) Discovering the positive impact that the arts can have on the individual and the group as a whole; 6) Strengthening relationships among families from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds; 7) Connecting with communities through performances and special projects.

How the need for IDP was determined and how IDP responds to the need:

In 1989 the infamous Sheff vs. O’Neill case shined a light on the inequity between the levels of education provided to minority students compared to others due to where they resided in the state of Connecticut. This case launched a deep evaluation of the disparities in education in urban vs. rural vs. suburban areas. The state has made great strides in improving this inequity and organizations such as ASAP!, and programs such as the Inter-district and Special Projects, are helping respond to this need by bringing together students of varying ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds to learn together. ASAP! uses the arts as a common ground to reduce barriers, build confidence, bolster core school subjects, and teach positive methods of expressing emotion. The Inter-district Projects encompass several programs in several regional schools. The Special Projects, created three years ago, brings ASAP! into the school-day curriculum and after school. These programs now serve over 7,000 students.

ASAP! with REACH

REACH is a pre-school program situated at Washington Primary School. ASAP! will provide three workshops throughout the school year including movement, yoga, and cooking. Students will explore their bodies in space through movement, learn stillness and breathing techniques through yoga practice, and awaken their senses as they create different kinds of yummy and nutritious foods.