Imagine! with Rainbow Mountain Children’s School

Throughout April and May, students at Rainbow Mountain Children's School worked with local professional artists in a collaborative project called Imagine! According to the school's executive director Renee Owen, it's a natural partnership: Children with their fantastic imaginations, and artists with their creativity and skills, have a lot to teach each other. But Imagine! is more than an effort to encourage artistic education in the classroom, it's about working together to create art that "envisions a better, just and spiritually-fulfilled world."

A performance-art extravaganza: Students and area artists showcase collaborative work that envisions a better world.

These collaborative projects will be featured at Imagine!'s culminating event on Thursday, May 20. The performance-art extravaganza will be held at Lipinsky Auditorium on the UNCA campus and is a family-friendly affair. "It's like a variety show featuring dozens of artists and students," says Owen. "Art at its best carries culture forward, whether it's drama, music or painting," she continues. Through creative expression Imagine! aims to "see and really visualize the future as peaceful and sustainable." Developing that vision is the first step towards making it happen, Owen emphasizes.

Working with a variety of media and with an array of artists, students made shadow puppets with Lisa Sturz of Red Herring Puppets; developed storytelling skills with Sarah Eshan; danced to African drum rhythms with Adama Dembele of funk and world-percussion band Afro-Motive; played the dulcimer with Jon Cooley; produced a play with William Harwood; experimented on the theromin with Summit Jaffe of Moog Music; learned magic tricks with Tim Arem and Doreen Dvorscak; wrote and performed spoke-word poetry with Graham Hackett; and even choreographed eco-dance theater with Coco Palmer, just to name a few.

Photo by Halima Flynt

At the upcoming extravaganza, Rainbow students will perform short works of Zen-puppetry theater, a skit about building community (performed in Spanish) and a play that ends with the line: "Oh, I get it, the more you give the more you get." There will also be poetry, dance, music, visual art and an arts auction featuring works by participating collaborators.

Proceeds from the auction will be shared between artists and the school (with each artists deciding exactly how much they wish to donate to the school).  Rainbow Mountain was able to invite local artists to work with students and faculty with the primary support of HandMade in America. But, notes Owen, they still need the greater community to come out and support the vision.

Imagine! will be held on Thursday, May 20. The arts auction opens at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. $15 adults/$5 students/Free for children under 12. Tickets & info:


About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

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