Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cook Arts Center Music Recital

The Arts Center’s spring class session has come to an end and on May 20 we celebrated the musical
accomplishments of our students with a spring music recital.
Our guitar, piano/keyboard and violin
students performed solo and group pieces for an
audience of about 75 music-loving parents, friends
and guests. The audience was
treated to musical favorites ranging from traditional songs such as
"Ode to Joy" to
more contemporary jingles such as the theme to "Inspector Gadget". In total, there
were 18 guitar students who performed, 9 piano students and 7 violin students. Each
student also
recieved a certificate of completion at the end of the recital.

To view video clips from both the dance and music recitals, please visit GAAH's YouTube page by

Music Recital Program 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cook Arts Center Dance Recital

On Monday, May 18, the Cook Arts Center celebrated the end of the spring session of after-school classes with a dance recital. The audience of 50 people were treated to performances by youth and adult students in the jazz, hip hop, hawaiian and tahitian dance classes. In addition, Grupo Tarasco, the dance companyof the Cook Arts Center, performed various traditional folkloric dances. Another highlight of the evening was the Fabulous! Fashion Show given by the students in the Arts Center's children's sewing class.

Hawaiian Dance Class

Fabulous! Fashion Show

Hip Hop Dance Class

Beginner Jazz Dance

Grupo Tarasco

Tahitian Dance Class

Hawaiian / Tahitian dance instructor Bethany Franklin

Happy 95th Birthday, Mr. Cook!

Longtime supporter of Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities and namesake of our facilities Peter Cook recently turned 95 years old, and came to the Cook Arts Center for a little birthday celebration!

Sixth grade students from neighborhood school Southwest Community Campus joined Mr. Cook for birthday festivities which included a musical performance, a party hat art activity, and of course a delicious birthday cake!

Students enjoyed meeting Mr. Cook, getting to know him, and hearing his stories. Mr. Cook grew up in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood, and it has a special place in his heart.

Thanks, Mr. Cook, for celebrating your birthday with us! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Notes from the Intern: Goodbye Shelly!

As the spring art classes came to an end last Thursday, so did my time at the Arts Center. Since I graduate this week from college and face a move to Kalamazoo, a lot of things in my life will come to an end, but few will be sadder than having to leave the Cook Arts Center. It’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, but I hope to be able to come back for a visit every now and then. A big thanks to everyone who made my internship such an enjoyable experience!

* Shelly is a senior at Calvin College majoring in English and Studio Art. She shares her experiences interning at the Cook Arts Center on this blog once a week. **

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Campus Elementary visits the Cook Arts Center

This is the 5th year that 1st grade students from Campus Elementary have visited the Arts Center for a special field trip. The workshop is made possible through the support of a tutoring group from Grace Episcopal Church. Throughout the year, tutors and their students work together on reading and homework and in the spring the tutoring group treats two first grade classrooms to a special event at the Arts Center. This year's workshops in art and dance focused on the book, "Bats at the Library" by Brian Lies. The students had read the book before coming to the Arts Center. The art and dance classes incorporated the theme of the book and had them creating pastel watercolor paintings with bat silhouettes as well as running and "flying" like bats in the dance studio. The students were in for yet another special surprise because after the workshops they each received their own copy of the "Bats at the Library" book.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Notes from the Intern: Gardening & Cooking Club

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to join the Gardening and Cooking class at the Cook Arts Center. The class works with Mixed Greens, which is an organization that works to bring kids back in touch with the outdoors. Mr. Nick was the teacher of the day and he had a great activity planned for them that included an unlikely star…rhubarb.

He first wowed the group by saying that the leafy part of rhubarb is poisonous, and then handed each child a stalk. With awe, they held on to their powerful, but unassuming plants. After removing the leafy part, the kids were then able to chop up their stalk into smaller pieces (with a dull knife, of course!) Then, on the count of three, the kids were all able to pop a piece of raw rhubarb into their mouths. “Mmmm” and “ewww” erupted from all sides. Personally, I was surprised at how much rhubarb tasted like sour candy when it was raw, although some of the “eww" kids disagreed.

Nick then had the kids stand around the griddle and pour the rhubarb in. As it sizzled in the butter, kids were able to pour different ingredients in. As it cooked, some of the kids that were able to tear their eyes away from the rhubarb colored a picture of rhubarb.

As they colored, Mr. Nick put a secret ingredient into cups that left many guesses floating in the air. As the coloring slowed down, Mr. Nick called for attention and began to pour the rhubarb sauce over the special ingredient. He then handed it out to everyone and on the count of three everyone tasted it. Ice cream and rhubarb! Almost all of us agreed that the sweet and sour taste was delicious.

It was fun for the kids (and me!) to see within a half hour the transformation that the rhubarb went through. The best part was that at the end of class, each kid was able to go out to our garden and pick two stalks of rhubarb for themselves to take home.

* Shelly is a senior at Calvin College majoring in English and Studio Art. She shares her experiences interning at the Cook Arts Center on this blog once a week. **

Friday, May 8, 2009

Amway Volunteer Day

The Cook Arts Center has never looked better! For six hours last Friday, seven Amway employees from the Personal Care section of the Access Business Group painted, weeded, painted, mulched, and painted some more. A big thanks to Jay Heydenburg, Lisa Eddy, Darrell Mattick, Bruce Neely, Scot Rich, Mike Schwartz, and Sue Sweany for making us look so good. This work day was part of Amway's One by One Campaign for Children.

Amway has been a faithful community partner of ours for more than a decade, and both the Arts Center and the Library have benefited from their generous support. Thank you, Amway, for making a difference in the lives of the children of the Grandville Avenue neighborhood.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Little Read!

The Cook Library Center was pleased to host one of the Grand Rapids Public Library's Little Read events yesterday afternoon.

Students were encouraged to read the book The Malted Falcon by Bruce Hale...

"He's everyone's favorite elementary-school detective and lizard of mystery. Now Chet Gecko is in Grand Rapids and on the case."

At the Little Read, students were able to meet Chet in person, see real lizards and geckos from John Ball Zoo, make your own detective hats and enjoy some interesting snacks that only a gecko could love.

Check out the photos... thanks to GRPL and John Ball Zoo!