Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Día del Sol (Day of the Sun): A Celebration to Benefit the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center

A lively auction bursting with items from local businesses and artists, a delectable Cuban feast prepared by Tommy Fitzgerald, support from generous donors, a successful partnership with Kendall College of Art and Design, a charming dance performance and Latin music: these are only some of the things that made up Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities’ (GAAH’s) 13th annual Día del Sol on June 19. The event was not only inspiring, but raised $48,000 to support the programs of the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center

One of the highlights of the evening was the drama that unfolded over two very special auction items. Every year several dozen elementary students from the Cook Library Center sew two quilts for the silent auction, and this year’s quilts were especially beautiful. Two of the students who worked on the quilts, Juan Diego and Estelita, were in attendance to talk about the project—and talk they did! These children did such a good job of promoting the quilts that the resulting bidding wars generated $400.

All of these things helped to make the fundraiser a fun-filled, entertaining, dynamic evening. This unforgettable day was an opportunity to celebrate our vibrant community and to thank those who give their treasure and talent to GAAH.

With the help of this tremendous group of individuals and businesses, GAAH can continue to deeply impact the lives of many Grandville Avenue neighborhood residents every day. 

Juan Diego and Estelita showing off their quilt to Eva Aguirre Cooper

Some special friends at a colorful table with their Día del Sol programs.

Tommy's delicious Cuban feast

Michael the Accordionist

Guests checking out the artwork in the auction

Volunteer Miss Cat and her niece, Piper

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

GAAH Partners with César E. Chávez Elementary School to Kick-Start Students’ Summers

A week before the last day of school at César E. Chávez Elementary school, the students had the opportunity to participate in activities arranged by the committed and dedicated staff at both the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center. By providing these pre-summer activities, the organization aims to inspire the kids to continue to use their imagination and literacy skills over the course of the few months that they will be away from their regimen with their educators. Not to mention, the collaboration supports continued organizational efforts to sustain creative, effective, strategic partnerships with a variety of facets city-wide. Naturally, this school is an ideal partner for Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH).

Between Tuesday, June 4 and Monday, June 9, both facilities of GAAH had the opportunity to meet a myriad of elementary school students. These children poured into our facilities with enthusiastic energy to create, explore, and dance. They participated in various activities, including Father’s Day card-making, flower designing, breakdancing, painting, crafts, reading, and more.

For some of these children, the experience of working with the teachers and staff of GAAH was a first. In fact, when given a tour of the facilities, many of these students could be overheard gasping in awe, saying things such as, “Oh, it’s so beautiful!” And once the activity for the day was complete, the Program Director invited them to sign up at absolutely no cost. When some students heard that they could attend for free, their eyes lit up, and it was apparent that they had already fallen in love with the organization and its mission.

Some of the regular students who have experience with GAAH’s programs conveyed their enthusiasm in a different way. In fact, two Cook Library Scholars wore their name-badges from the program to this outside activity, ultimately indicating their pride, feeling of a sense of belonging, and ownership to the program. In the end, this gesture is a great way to indicate the success of the first year of the Cook Library Scholars.

All in all, this fruitful partnership with César E. Chávez Elementary and GAAH benefits both parties. GAAH is able to attract new students who ultimately will make up the body of the future after-school programs. In turn, the school benefits as a result of the activities, which are planned in hopes that students will be invigorated with enthusiasm for learning, passion for art, and commitment to accomplishment.