There was a packed house on Friday, March 16 for Clinton School’s high-energy show “Remixing the Curriculum,” written and performed by Clinton School fourth grade students and conceived and directed by artist-in-residence Angela Kariotis, an acclaimed writer, performer, and educator.
Made possible by a partnership between the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a consortium made up of Arts Horizons and Young Audiences New Jersey, the residency was the most recent in a long line of artist residencies at Clinton.
Drawing on the diversity of Clinton School as well as the fourth grade study of immigration, Kariotis and Clinton’s fourth grade teachers guided the children through weeks of arts-based writing and performance exercises that resulted in remarkably moving, insightful, and dynamic work.
Each of the four fourth grade classes, as well as students in a multi-age self-contained special education class, performed their pieces on Friday which included “I Speak American,” "Biography Monologues,” "American Revolution Remix or the Great Lunchroom Revolt Circa 2012,” and “Actually, We Are All Immigrants.”
The intricately staged pieces allowed students to explore and represent their stories, their parents’ stories, and the stories of others by whom they’ve been inspired. The pieces brought the audience all over the world from New Jersey to Haiti, from Jamaica to Russia, from the Dominican Republic to England.
The writing was heartfelt and powerful, and it was performed with poise, confidence, and enthusiasm. All of the pieces were accompanied by a soundtrack created especially for the show by DJ Santi V, a visiting artist who spent several days at Clinton during Ms. Kariotis’ residency.
Clinton School has received this artist-in-residence grant for several years and during that time students have been able to create poetry, jazz music, dance pieces, fiber art, and murals. The artist-in-residence program has been made possible through strong support from the Clinton School administration and faculty and the Clinton PTA. It's a well-oiled collaboration that celebrates the importance of arts education and highlights the intellectual curiosity and artistic creativity of every child.
“This program builds community and allows every child to explore their talents and potential. I am overwhelmed by the talent and spirit our students have demonstrated," said Clinton parent and PTA President Elizabeth Aaron.