CORNING, N.Y. (August 3, 2016) - Led by The Rockwell Museum, a summer-long youth program involving five community organizations and over 135 students at four youth centers, will culminate with a Garden of Fire Festival on August 12, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at CareFirst. The Festival will be held for children who participated in the summer program and their families. The Festival will include many family art projects, an exhibition of student artwork, live animal demonstrations with Tanglewood Nature Center, clay and water themed activities with partnering staff and the Southeast Steuben County Library, a Kids Farmers Market and blender bike with the Food Bank,   live music by Wassa Pan Afrika, an African drum and dance ensemble, and more.

At the festival, youth center participants and their families will gather for a welcoming celebration with The Native American Council of Corning Incorporated, and a musical performance by the participating youth led by local musician, Sue Spencer.  The center space will be decorated by natural material sculptures of water channels created by the youth with artists Tony Moretti and Gwen Quigley during the program.  During the event, youth will be invited to fill their creations with water and see how the water flows.

The festival will celebrate the youth’s accomplishments from the summer and bring youth from all over the region together.  It’s a great opportunity for the youth to connect with each other with support from the community and recognition from the staff they will have worked with during the six-week summer program leading up to this event.

The Garden of Fire is a collaborative summer youth program provided by community organizations and local artists to regional youth centers. This year, the program had a sub-theme of water,  which all the collaborating organizations incorporated into their sessions. The six-week program provided an in-depth series of eight workshops that focused on gardening, art, science, wellness, nutrition and individual growth. Week to week, themes included growing cycles, healthy food, art, and the geographical landscape.

“Each component of the program offers students a unique perspective and opportunities which they would not otherwise be exposed to in their communities. It also allows students of varied backgrounds to work together to learn new skills and create within a safe and supportive environment,” says Gigi Alvaré, Director of Education at The Rockwell Museum.

“The Garden of Fire program is encouraged and supported by the director of the Triangle Fund, Pam Noviello and inspired by the Extended Learning Network of the Southern Tier whose purpose is to build capacity, depth and the integration of art and science programs serving about 135 youth in Steuben County.   The Rockwell Museum is the lead organization for the Garden of Fire collaborative project, which includes 171 Cedar Arts Center, CareFirst, Tanglewood Nature Center and The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes,” Alvaré states.

The goal of the program is to educate youth about nutrition and health, art, music and natural science through interactive experiences. The Garden of Fire title represents the gardening and fire ceramics activities that will be offered as part of the program.

Each youth center visited The Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY where they had the opportunity to view the museum galleries to learn about the collection and draw inspiration for their own projects. They participated in a pottery workshop in The Museum’s Education Center to create clay animal garden sculptures, incorporating symbols connecting to characteristics and special qualities of their animals, using art as a method of self-expression.  . Throughout the summer, participants learned how to use the garden and the elements of nature as a source of inspiration in the creation of art, music and poetry.

The program series connects people from all areas of the region to each other and provides a comprehensive understanding of the connection between everything around us.  The Garden of Fire connects the garden to the arts, drumming to emotions, science to food and growth and highlights the importance of honoring the Earth in a variety of ways.

This project is made possible, in part, with funds from The Triangle Fund, The Community Foundation of the Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Rose’s Youth Philanthropists and an anonymous donor.

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