Williams Alliance for the Arts continues support at schools

Kindergartners at Williams Elementary-Middle School use Boomwhackers to learn about rhythm and sound. The instruments were donated to the school by Williams Alliance for the Arts.

Photo by Wendy Howell.

Kindergartners at Williams Elementary-Middle School use Boomwhackers to learn about rhythm and sound. The instruments were donated to the school by Williams Alliance for the Arts.

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Students learn to use Boomwhackers during music class.

The art and music programs at Williams Unified School District (WUSD) continue to grow with the support of Williams Alliance for the Arts (WAFTA).

This month, the Alliance is encouraging the community to celebrate Youth Art Month with them and will host a reception and show at The Gallery in Williams.

Students at Williams Unified School District, and other local schools, and homeschools are encouraged to submit artwork for the show.

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Music teacher Beverly Stearns instructs her Kindergarten students.

“Youth Art Month is celebrated all over the nation,” said Williams Alliance for the Arts member Kris Williams. “In Flagstaff there is always an exhibit at the Coconino Center for the Arts and we do it here at The Gallery in Williams. “

Williams said children’s artwork will be on display throughout the month of March and an open reception will be held March 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The arts group has supported many arts activities at Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS) over the past few years. The group brought several artists, photographers and filmmakers to the school and is hosting programs such as the Identity through Photography Project, the WUSD Art Club, and the WUSD Photography Club this year.

Williams said the Identity through Photography Project for eighth graders was well received in 2016 by the students and faculty, and the group continued the program this year with additional classes and more instructional time. Professional photographers Grazina Wade and Amy Martin led the classes.

“We’ve expanded the project this year; the students have gotten more detailed instruction on the use of the cameras, they’ve had longer time to practice with the cameras and received a bit more instruction on editing and critiquing their works,” Williams said. “They’ve gotten more into what makes a good photo and why.”

The project is designed to encourage students to express their identity. The students are required to come up with three photographs. One needs to be a self-portrait, the second one needs to express their personal identity without them being in the photo, and the third one should express the identity of their community whether it be a group they belong to, their family, their school or the town.

The program at the school is finishing up and the photographs will be on display throughout the month of April. There will be a reception April 8 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with refreshments and music by the WUSD music program.

“Many photographs will be for sale at the gallery, “Williams said. “And every student will be represented in a printed photo or with a slide show on a computer.”

The Alliance also supported the music programs at WUSD last year by spending more than $4,000 on new instruments and equipment for the middle school and high school bands, and purchasing Boomwhackers - lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes - tuned to musical pitches to be used in at Williams Elementary-Middle School.

WAFTA is comprised of local artists and art enthusiasts whose focus is supporting arts education and activities for children and adults in the Williams community. The group has plans to build upon many programs they began last year at the schools and introduce a few new ones.

WAFTA is a non-profit organization supported through grants, donations and local fundraisers. The group has received money from groups like the Greater Williams Community Fund, Coconino County Community Incentives, the WEMS Site Council and many individuals.

More information about WAFTA and its programs is available by calling Williams at (928) 310-6287.

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