Monday, February 28, 2011

February at the Cook Library Center

February is Black History Month, and the Tolly Time guest speaker at the Cook Library Center, Ms. Erica Millbrooks, told some fascinating stories about how quilts were used in the Underground Railroad to communicate secret messages. Many thanks to her for coming in and sharing these special quilts and telling such wonderful stories.

The Cook Library Center also held a chess tournament this month that was a little different than usual: This time, it was boys vs. girls. After heavy thinking and carefully executed moves, it came down to a championship match between Danny L. and Avelycia O. After battling it out, Danny was able to take the win for the boys.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sewing Success and Believe 2 Become

As you may have heard, the sewing class at the Cook Arts Center has become quite popular. So popular, in fact, that it is now being held twice a week! Every Monday and Thursday night, Ms. Erica Millbrooks has been showing students how to use the sewing machines to create bags and pin cushions. She has also been working to show them some new and simple knotting techniques for making simple, yet fantastic, scarves.

Over at the Cook Library Center we held another successful Career Day. Ana Doonan, a Venezuelan native, shared stories of growing up with 7 sisters and talked about the struggles that students sometimes face when trying to reach goals in school and in life. Ana is part of the new initiative called "Believe 2 Become" - an initiative that is determined to help Grand Rapids students succeed in their education. The program focuses on one Grand Rapids neighborhood at a time; representatives coordinate community planning meetings and help residents and students become familiar with existing neighborhood resources. For more information about the Believe 2 Become initiative, visit

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle

Last Friday, some of our fabulous GVSU volunteers traveled downtown to Rosa Parks Circle with a group of students from the Cook Library Center. There, they had a fun-filled afternoon of ice-skating, followed by hot chocolate and carriage rides. Ms. Sue got the chance to show off her ice skating skills while the hot chocolate from Biggby Coffee kept everyone warm. Riding in the horse-drawn carriage was especially fun, as it was only two days after the big snowstorm and downtown Grand Rapids was beautifully snow-covered.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Days, Aquinas Drop-In Art and Robots

The Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities has been hit with the rest of Michigan by what is being called the Blizzard of 2011! After getting more than 14 inches of snow, GRPS canceled school for three days, and gave everyone here at the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center a reminder that we live in Michigan! While everyone's been out having fun in the snow, (and less fun driving in it), we look back over the past couple of weeks at some of the great activities we've been enjoying.

Over at the Cook Library Center Aquinas students have been helping out with our Drop-In Art classes, which have been rescheduled for Fridays from 3:30 to 4:30. Last week they had a great time with students from Cesar Chavez Elementary, helping them build small sculptures. Students at the Cook Library Center have also been enjoying a large marble drop, donated by the VanderWilp family. Thank you so much for your generosity, VanderWilps!

Over at the Cook Arts Center we've been getting creative as well. The Press Club with Ms. Lori has started and we all had fun making magnetic poetry. Ms. Deb's card-making class made a special batch of thank you cards for our friend Andrea Wallace, who donated over 200 boxes of crayons! Ms. T'Alyne's sculpture class made some amazing robots, and below, you can watch a video of our friends Egypt (aka "Z") and Giselle describing the special features of the robots they made.