The Dream and the Highest Peak

Photo by Sandra Selva

As part of a recent residency led by Get Lit – Words Ignite instructors Raul Herrera and Brian Sonia-Wallace at Sierra Preparatory Academy, students selected a classic poem, wrote their own response poem, and performed both for an audience of peers and family members. The following is a response poem to Langston Hughes’s Dream Variations.

The Dream and the Highest Peak
By: Erik Lopez, 6th grade

Racism feels like looking at a box of colored pencils without every color, full of emptiness

And it tastes like all the bitterness of the world put in one lemon

Racism is an on-going nightmare that has not yet ended

Racism is the train that’s been going since 1807 that only carries depression

It’s just like numbers, it doesn’t seem to end.

Langston Hughes’ unfulfilled dream will hopefully one day become a reality.

So that anyone can fling their arms wide

Enjoying the vibrant sun’s smile

And being allowed to dance

Till the wonderful day is done

As they watch the beautiful stars come on lightly like a warm blanket

Then sleeping without worries and only comforting dreams.

THAT IS THE DREAM!

And the highest peak

The peak that all civil rights activist want to reach

But if they want to make the dream a reality,

Then they have to pick up the pace to pass the point of the peak in stopping the painfulness of the racist to re-paint the picture of the passionate world with more colors than just white.

In 90 years…

Happy 90th birthday, Frank Gehry!

Together with our network of 27 partner schools across the state, we strive to honor our co-founder’s pioneering spirit by leveraging the arts for educational equity. We are deeply grateful for Frank Gehry’s commitment to the next generation of imaginative learners and innovative leaders.

Introducing Tiffany Siart, Executive Director

Like many kids entering middle school, I felt awkward, lacked confidence, and was hungry to express myself.  Then, I met Bonnie Lavin, our school’s dance teacher, who invited us, the students, to choreograph together. Bonnie saw our potential, and exposure to dance led me to challenge myself academically and approach learning with excitement instead of fear.  Our first performance, inspired by the musical Hair, reverberates through me to this day.

Today, I am thrilled to take on this inspiring new challenge: to be the next Executive Director of Turnaround Arts: California. I join a community of artists and teachers, big thinkers committed to the fundamental and critical role that the arts play in a child’s education and development. I join a community committed to making arts education a reality for all students in California, every day. I join a community that believes in our children and their potential, and our sacred responsibility to expose them to opportunity and nurture their growth.

I want to thank Frank Gehry, Malissa Shriver, Terry Lenihan, and the entire Board of Directors of Turnaround Arts: California for this opportunity. I see I am in excellent company with Barbara Palley, Heather Heslup, and Jacob Campbell of the Turnaround Arts: California team. I cannot wait to meet all the teachers, principals, coaches, superintendents, partners, and collaborators who make this expansive mission thrive and grow every day.

Thank you,
Tiffany Siart
Executive Director

“Let the sun shine in,
Open up your heart and let it shine on in.”
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine in, from the musical Hair

“I feel like I’m something special…”

John J. Montgomery Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District launched the 2018-2019 school year as one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. Turnaround Artists Ozomatli visited the Monty Eagles in celebration of the school’s commitment to leveraging the arts for educational equity.

Chad Smith + Zamboni Middle School

Frank J. Zamboni Middle School in the Paramount Unified School District launched the 2018-2019 school year as one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. Turnaround Artist Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers visited the Zamboni Wildcats in celebration of the school’s commitment to leveraging the arts for educational equity.

Video: Sandra Selva

Arts Leadership Team Trainings 2018

Together with the Kennedy Center, local arts organizations, and our coach partners, Turnaround Arts: California gathers Arts Leadership Teams from partner schools across the state annually to develop and deepen arts-rich action plans for school change.

A special thank you to our 2018 venue partners: The Broad Stage, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and Sunset Center.

Video: Sandra Selva
Music: www.bensound.com

Sierra Prep Jazz Band Records with Mark Ronson

Sierra Preparatory Academy in the Santa Ana Unified School District is one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. After visiting the school, Turnaround Artist Mark Ronson invited the school’s Jazz Band, under the direction of Susan Tory, to experience the recording process in a professional studio. Check out their rendition of Stand By Me!

Video by Wreesman Reels

Frank Gehry + Ellen Ochoa Learning Center

Ellen Ochoa Learning Center is one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. Co-founder and Turnaround Artist Frank Gehry, architects from Gehry Partners, and California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon recently visited the school and encouraged middle school students to envision the future of their community through the arts.

Filmed by Sandra Selva
Edited by Jonathan Walls