Guest Post: North Sarasota Library celebration connects student art, families and community

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Guest Blogger

By Yvette Robison, Manager, North Sarasota Library

What began as a simple exhibit of student art at the North Sarasota Library quickly grew into something greater, as the Library staff invited school and community partners to join the celebration.  Imagine our delight when we realized that, indeed, the exhibit and recognition event was a perfect example of cultural connections with students -- and adults --after the school bell rang and around the dinner table!

Talk about connecting the schools and the community at the library. Visual art hung in the library lobby during the month of October and November. There were a total of 15 pieces created by Booker High and Booker Middle students. Among them was Solitude, one of the top 25 pieces from the Education Foundation’s Evening of Excellence. There were so many inquiries about that piece of art, even before we knew it had officially been named an award winner.

We wanted to not only celebrate the student artists but to recognize family members, as well.  So we started planning a celebration dinner.  What is a dinner without some form of entertainment?  Performing artists from Booker High and Booker Middle answered our call with jazz, classical music, poetry, improvisation and dramatic interpretation and their families came to share the evening.

The next connection came when community elders from the Newtown Senior Friendship program accepted our invitation to join us for dinner. We also invited adult volunteers with the North County Homeowners Association and the Friends of the North Sarasota Library.  They were delighted to see neighborhood children as artists.  It was good news to share with other neighbors, family members, and friends.

With middle high school students performing, why not invite elementary students, so that we could inspire and encourage?  After all, we self-proclaimed the North Sarasota Library as the I-Zone:  Intelligence, Integrity, and Inspiration. We asked the principals of Emma E. Booker Elementary and Gocio Elementary to extend invitations to five families from each school to enjoy the evening at the library.

The North Sarasota Library proved to be an important entity in cultural connections on November 30, 2011.  Visual and performing arts teachers from the middle and high school shared a meal with elementary students and families. Community elders ate beside and conversed with teen artists. A school administrator met the president of the neighborhood association.

We celebrated the process of art, .its continuing evolution and the I-Zone connection of Intelligence, Integrity, and Inspiration.

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