Wednesday, November 23, 2011

David Lockington at the Cook Library Center!

David Lockington, conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, came to the Cook Library Center November 17th, 2011. With a bright blue cello case in hand, Mr Lockington instantly had a crowd of excited students who wanted to share their thoughts.
GAAH students gathered in the community room and fell under a trance as Mr. Lockington began to play the cello and sing a soulful song. Mr. Lockington later shared the inspiring story of how he went from playing cello professionally, to conducting orchestras.
The students enjoyed the interactive piece that Mr. Lockington wrote, and did a great job clapping at the correct parts in the song. Students also got a chance to ask Mr. Lockington questions, and share which instruments they are studying at the Cook Arts Center. GAAH appreciates Mr. Lockington for giving this wonderfully enriching experience to the Cook Library students.
Special thanks to GAAH's talented volunteer photographer Katherine Thelen, who took pictures of this event.

Check out the youtube video of this event!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

El Día De Los Muertos-Day Of The Dead

On October 29th, the Cook Arts Center celebrated the traditional Hispanic El Día De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead). People from the Grandville Ave. neighborhood & greater Grand Rapids came together to celebrate loved ones who have passed away. 

11 dedicated volunteers decorated the center beautifully on Friday afternoon, and set up an impressive two table traditional altar (above). People brought "ofrendas" (candles, photos, and favorite items of loved ones) to place on the community altar.
Everyone enjoyed the intercultural potluck during the afternoon. Some people got to try Costa Rican tamales, pan dulce, and sweet pineapple tamales for the first time!

 Neighborhood youth Latino artist, Javier Campos, had a beautiful piece of art exhibited for the event. Javier recently started a paid internship with GAAH, and GAAH staff is enthusiastically supporting his creative endeavors.

Musicians Nuri Tett and Irma Rodriguez played some smooth Latin duets. Thanks for sharing your talent and inspiring our youth!

The Art table was jam packed all afternoon as participants made Colorful skeleton masks, and other related activities.

Kyle Thompson and Frank Nawrot, Students of Carlos De La Barrera, provided beautiful Latin and Spanish guitar music.
Thanks again to everyone who made this event fun and special! The Cook Arts Center welcomes new volunteers at any time,and collaborates with local artists, and musicians. Email Eva at if you are interested in volunteering or collaborating!
~Enjoy the rest of the pictures from El Día De Los Muertos below~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Season!

Students at GAAH eagerly anticipate fall activities, especially when the pumpkins start arriving! Mr. Gene Gilmore owns a farm out in Ada, Michigan and graciously donates pumpkins to GAAH each year. This year, when Mr. Gilmore arrived at the library, he was greeted with the usual helping hands and smiling faces.
Students and families had a blast decorating pumpkins in Mrs. Katherine and Mr. Jared's classes. Thanks again, Mr. Gilmore!

GAAH's youth Press Club took the opportunity to cover the pumpkin extravaganza and their story "The Great Pumpkin Interview" was published in the Rapidian!