Be a part of our creative history. Join I WAS THERE 2013 on Thursday, May 2 from 6 – 8pm.

[ 0 ] April 26, 2013 |

The past meets the present during “A Walk Down Wickenden” where creative expression comes alive with a Literary Salon, a Neighborhood Photography Exhibit, a Live Procession Band, and Vaudeville theater.  Produced by the 4th and 5th grade students of Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point as part of the celebrated I WAS THERE Project.

I WAS THERE: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF EXPRESSING OURSELVES will combine oral history techniques, creative writing, photography, vaudeville theater, music and instrument making, with a  final live presentation to connect students with their school and its community, and the rich history of the arts in Fox Point.

At this year’s annual I WAS THERE public final event, on Thursday, May 2nd, 6 – 8 pm, visitors will be invited to take an imaginary “Walk Down Wickenden” in the school’s hallways to engage with all that our students have learned and experienced with their resident IWT teachers and artists during this seven month arts immersion residency. This free public event, is the result of our students’ research of local art history, conducting of oral history interviews, and immersion in four nine-week artist residencies with highly regarded local RI artists.IWT 2013 postcard front

During the event, guests will peek into various rooms and hallways and discover along the way: a Writers’ Salon of old featuring 5th grade poets nurtured in a Literature Residency by Hillary Brady and Rachel Shipps of Brown University, from Poet Laureate, Rick Benjamin’s Poets in Community Service class.  Guests will also view this year’s Oral History interviews conducted by our students with preparation from their I WAS THERE teachers Lisa Melmed, Sarita Rich and Ria Fulton. Interviews containing the wonderful musings of author Ann Hood, storyteller Len Cabral, theater artist Vanessa Gilbert, Barker Playhouse actor David Crossley, Holy Rosary Church conductor, Manuel Correia, and photographer of local architecture, Erik Gould will be featured on large-screen format.

And, there’s more. As visitors continue down “Wickenden” they’ll happen upon a gallery of neighborhood images where new ideas of collage, portrait, panorama and tintype photography were explored by 4th grade students, and upper grade students of differing abilities in their residency with photographer/visual artist, Deborah Hickey. From there, guests will hear the sounds of student-crafted marimbas and drums emanating from the I WAS THERE processional marching band practice room. They’ll follow the beats, take a peek, and listen.  Guests will be welcome to try their hand at one of the instruments our 4th grade students made in their residency with members, Joshua Lantzy, Amy Small and Michael Gore of Rhode Island’s own Extraordinary Rendition Band.

Once the band is warmed up they’ll lead visitors to the IWT Vaudevillian Theater for a performance from two of our 5th grade classes.  These vaudeville actors were trained by IWT resident artists Keri King and Liz Zito, who channeled local Fox Point resident George M. Cohan for inspiration.

Community partners for this year’s I WAS THERE Project aside from Vartan Gregorian Elementary School’s award-winning teachers, were The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University, the RISD Museum, The Extraordinary Rendition Band, and Rhode Island Artists: Deborah Hickey, Keri King, Liz Zito, Joshua Lantzy, Amy Small, and Michael Gore and interviewees:  Ann Hood,  David Crossley, Len Cabral, Vanessa Gilbert and Erik Gould.

I WAS THERE is an Arts Immersion residency that values Place, Oral History and Experiential Learning at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point.  Our 4th, 5th, and upper grade students with differing abilities have spent the past seven months exploring creative self-expression within the context of the rich history of Fox Point, Providence, Rhode Island.

Please visit the I WAS THERE blog for more information and to see our students’ input.


Thursday, May 2, 2013, 6:00 — 8:00pm
Vartan Gregorian Elementary School
455 Wickenden Street, Providence


Category: community news, education + schools, high school age, kids, parents, teens (13 +), tweens

Anisa Raoof

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Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

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