Symphony encourages kids to celebrate creativity


October 31st, 2012

Omaha, NE – Over one thousand middle school children from around the state headed to the Joslyn Art Museum this week for workshops, concerts, art tours and music lessons.

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It’s lunch time at the Joslyn Art Museum, and under the grand ceiling of the downstairs atrium, hundreds of middle-schoolers took a break from workshops to grab a quick bite.

Over 1,000 students visited the Joslyn Art Museum for four days of workshops, music and art tours this week.

So what did you do today?

“Well, I went on my American art tour first,” explained Courtney Potter, a 13-year-old student from Raymond Central Middle School. “That was very fun because I liked our tour guide because she was very nice.”

“Then I went to Sweet Beats,” she continued, “and there was this percussionist. He was just amazing. I wish he was the percussion teacher at our school because he was great. I loved it.”

Courtney Potter, 13, plays percussion at Raymond Central Middle School, and enjoyed the percussion workshop and American art tours. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Potter was at the Joslyn with students from around the state for Celebrate Creativity – a four day event organized by the Omaha Symphony. About 360 students attend creative workshops each day and about half come in from outside the Omaha metro. Raymond Central is about an hour’s drive southwest of Omaha.

“Out in the middle of nowhere… it’s in a corn field pretty much,” said Jonathan Herroon, another 13-year-old from Raymond. Herroon said he attended a stage fighting workshop in the morning, which was “pretty cool.” In fact, he said, the entire day was pretty cool mainly because he got to just be himself.

“Overall, just being able to be spontaneous,” he said. “Usually if it’s a school field trip, I so much as sneeze…detention.”

“But if it’s a celebrating creativity thing I can be a little bit more free,” he said.

Jonathan Herroon, 13, said the stage-fighting workshop was one of his favorites for the day. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

“We really want to create an environment where it’s not like a typical school day,” said Adam Goos, one of the main organizers of the event. Goos heads education and community partnerships at the Omaha Symphony. “The kids actually get to choose which workshops they’re going to take,” he said. “On days like this, especially for middle school students where they’re all in the same class together throughout the day, or they have a structure, this really breaks them out of that and gives them a chance to be a little bit more independent.”

Goos said the idea behind Celebrate Creativity is to allow students to explore their creativity and dabble in a variety of artistic media. He added while he doesn’t expect each student to grow up to be an artist or musician, encouraging creativity in young minds is important. “We do really feel like art in all of its forms are really vital to our daily lives,” he said. “So our hope is that they just take that creativity and use it to inform themselves as they develop into adults and are appreciative of that and honor that.”

Goos said the event took weeks of organizing – from planning juggling workshops to shuttling in students from outside the city, and finally, to working with musicians from the symphony to put on a final performance each day for the group.

Celebrate Creativity continues at the Joslyn through Friday, and – by popular demand – will return next year.

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