Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reader to Reader Partners with Gateway City Arts

This summer, Reader to Reader is partnering with Gateway City Arts to offer an arts and restoration program to high school students in Holyoke.

The mission of Gateway City Arts is to provide top quality opportunities that are rooted in community, which syncs well with the Reader to Reader philosophy. Even though Gateway City Arts focuses on visual arts while we focus on literacy, we are both working towards the same educational and life quality goals and thus see many windows of opportunity for productive collaborations.

Students from the Summer of Power ELL program and from the Youth Works Career Point program go to Gateway City Arts for three hours every afternoon, to explore the arts as a career direction. Under the instruction of artist and renovator Vitek Kruta, students learn how to do old-world restoration techniques like faux finishing and stenciling. Meanwhile they are all collaborating to paint an eighty foot mural that will be put up on the outside of the old police station building in downtown Holyoke while it undergoes renovations.

Reader to Reader's Katy Moonan— who has a background in art and whose work is centered in Holyoke year round while running DiscoverBooks—is on site to help with the mural and provide translation services during the program.

The mural depicts images from the beautiful stained glass windows of Holyoke City Hall, and is part of a broader project to raise funds for their restoration. The murals also include writing that the students do during the program, in workshops provided by Kathy Dunn of Main Street Writers. The writings are focused on the students’ aspirations and inspirations. These writings not only enrich the murals, they add the voices of young Holyoke residents to the call that underscores the restoration campaign: it is urgent that we believe in and invest in a bright future for Holyoke.

We are excited about all of the potential that comes from this new partnership with Gateway City Arts and look forward to many more collaborations!

No comments: