Abrakadoodle Prince William VA STEAMs Ahead with Strong Community Outreach
Abrakadoodle’s Prince William County Virginia location was the first in the franchise system to respond to the challenge to participate in a system-wide Arts for All campaign with the first of several planned community service events. According to Eileen Moore, Education Director of Abrakadoodle of PWC, “Giving back in our community has been immensely rewarding.” Her Abrakadoodle location has provided two hands-on workshops to benefit PACE East students, as well as a special art workshop for residents of an assisted living facility.
Starting in February, Abrakadoodle PWC provided an in-school field trip for 13 students who participate in the PACE East program at no charge. Led by Beth, Abrakadoodle PWC teacher and artist-in-residence, she volunteered her time and guided students in an Abrakadoodle Drawsters activity inspired by Bob Cane called “Who’s That Character?” The PACE East program has a twenty-year history of assisting PWC students, as well as students from surrounding jurisdictions to learn to their fullest potential. The school’s name P.A.C.E., “Positive Attitude and Commitment to Education” essentially reflects their vision and mission and is part of every student’s educational experience. “This program is near and dear to my heart,” commented Ms. Moore. “This pro-bono program connects children with positive, creativity and skill-building art experiences that will have a positive lasting impact.” According to PACE teacher Delinda, “The students did a fantastic job creating their own super hero.” At the conclusion of the in-school field trip, students took part in gallery time, in which they shared their stories and learning about the characters they created and the super power with which they were imbued. Delinda was very enthusiastic about Abrakadoodle’s impact on her students.
The second PACE in-school art workshop held in April was also led by Beth, who introduced students to Abrakadoodle’s STEAM curriculum and helped them make a hands-on connection to science, engineering, math and technology through art. The STEAM lesson was based upon Ed Munn, a scientist and artist from the United Kingdom. Students learned about cells and how Munn likes to combine his cell studies with art, demonstrating that even a complex drawing can be made with a single line to reflect the internal structure of living cells. He calls his drawings One Liner Images. Beth said, “My students are really benefiting from our immersive art experience, and they are very excited to participate. The gallery at the end of class has been great, and all the students have done a fabulous job in speaking about their artwork.”
In mid-April, Abrakadoodle PWC donated a free painting class to benefit residents at the Caton Merchant House, an assisted living facility in Manassas, Virginia. Beth taught a Rose Ann Hayes Dandelion Watercolor lesson in which residents learned about the American watercolorist, who likes to paint botanicals. The seniors learned to use a watercolor technique called backwash to create beautiful backgrounds. Beth commented, “We really enjoyed talking with the residents, sharing stories and sparking their imaginations. A few were hesitant at first, but once they all got started, they were unstoppable!” Reportedly, one resident, who does not usually participate in activities, was so engaged that he had to be convinced to go to lunch and assured that his artwork would still be there. According to Beth, “This morning filled my heart with genuine joy!”