By April Sullivan
APRIL. What a great word! It’s my name. It’s also one of my favorite months.
It evokes images of blooming flowers, green grass, a warm breeze, and the sun on my face. All the things I love in this change in seasons from Winter to Spring. It is a time for renewal and just getting the wiggles out after waiting out the cold. That’s one reason Art in the Park, our annual festival for schoolchildren, has always been one of my favorite events that we host. It’s so fun to see all the kids running around in the park, sprinting from art activity table to art activity table, then stopping to watch a performance or two on the stage. Or patiently waiting in line for Zippy the Clown to make them a balloon hat or balloon animal, or getting food from the concession stand.
This partnership with McBeth Recreation Center, Austin Parks and Recreation Department has been one of our most long-standing collaborations at Art Spark Texas. And in 2020, it was abruptly cancelled, as so many events were. In 2021, we took the event virtual and will be continuing it virtually for 2022, as well, just to be extra cautious. I know the kids are back in school and would love to run in the park, but I think that’s just going to have to wait until next year. So, my challenge became to figure out how to host this event virtually and make it just as fun as ever! I know we can’t paint a horse virtually, but what can we do? Thanks to the creative brains on our staff, we have come up with a good plan.
The Art in the Park festival will kick off on Wednesday, April 6th at 11:30 AM CDT with a live performance by Wings. Wings is a dance project hosted at McBeth Recreation Center. They have traditionally participated in Art in the Park as the first performers of the day. So, we thought, let’s recreate that! Watch their live performance on YouTube Live at https://www.youtube.com/c/ArtSparkTexas at 11:30 AM CDT on April 6th.
Then, on Thursday, April 7th we open up the Art in the Park website on our homepage at www.artsparktx.org. There will be all new videos to watch in the area of visual art activities, dance, and performance including theater, storytelling, and music. Art Spark Dance has created some great videos featuring the reading of a storybook and then choreographed movements to go along with it. We encourage teachers to select videos they think their students would love and join us anytime between April 7 to April 21, 2022, to participate!
This year, for the visual art activities that we are making at Art Spark Texas, we are focusing on “A Virtual Journey of Parks around the World.” There will be seven lessons which explore nature on each continent: Plants, animal and land features around the globe – North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, Antarctica. Join us on this journey around the world as we explore different parks, their landscapes, and their inhabitants.
Watch our Instagram and Facebook pages at @ArtSparkTX for a daily video to be posted. We have great partners such as Ballet Austin, Austin Opera, and the Thinkery who have provided video content for you to explore. We can’t wait to see you at Art in the Park 2022!