Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Girls Rock! Grand Rapids 2018

In August we held the 6th annual Girls Rock! Grand Rapids camp at the Cook Arts Center. The camp encourages creativity and confidence through music for campers ages 8 to high school. Camp has doubled in size since it first began, and as a result, we have created a separate high school track for teens. This year there were two teen bands: The Midway and Calling Shotgun.

The Midway included both first time campers and return campers. Twin sisters Ailyn and Giselle were inspired to join Girls Rock after seeing their younger sister, Nadia, perform on stage with her band during previous camp years. They learned their assigned instruments quickly and by the end of the week, The Midway wrote their own original song, recorded in a professional recording studio, and performed at the showcase at Wealthy Theatre.

Members of Calling Shotgun had all attended Girls Rock camp before and used the week to fine tune their songwriting. After a successful performance, the close-knit group decided to continue their practices and now meet weekly at the Cook Arts Center.

The 2018 Girls Rock album is set to be released on November 8th during a special friends and family party at Cook Arts Center. You'll be able to listen to the new album, along with releases from the previous years, on the Girls Rock! Grand Rapids bandcamp page. (

Photos courtesy of Adrianne Braun and Steffanie Rosalez

Monday, August 13, 2018

2018 Summer Programming at Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities Wraps Up!

This summer children at the Cook Library and Cook Arts Center participated in day camps designed around S.T.E.A.M. subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Part of the Grand Rapids Public School Initiative, Believe 2 Become, funded by the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, the programs helped to lessen “summer learning loss” for students AND provided a fun way to spend the summer. SpartanNash also provided funds for additional activities, snacks, and field trips at the Cook Library.

Sofia Ramirez Hernandez, Program Manager at The Cook Library Center, says the camp provided a opportunity for students to “explore STEAM subjects in a non-traditional environment. The Cooking Matters program from MSU was a HUGE success!”

In addition to learning about science and math through such non-traditional means as cooking, Library students also visited Meijer Gardens, Michigan State University, and took swimming lessons at the YMCA. Sofia enthusiastically describes the impact of inviting families to visit a college campus with their children and the excitement of seeing students learn to swim for the first time: “Helping kids learn to swim and seeing their bravery grow and their dispositions change is pretty magical.”

Students from the Library Center learned to swim this summer

The highlight of the Cook Arts Center’s closing Summer Celebration in August was the public reading of Crazy Dogs, an original story written by 9-year old student, Akia. Crazy Dogs was the product of the Reading and Writing unit, taught by instructor, Ashley Acton.

Akia’s mother, Anjie, expressed her surprise that Akia stood in front of the crowd and read her story, “It was exciting, because Akia is usually so shy and quiet!” She also expressed her enthusiasm at all the summer program had to offer: “It was so much more than art - which Akia loves - but we learned it was also about cooking and helping Akia keep up on her reading and math. It was AMAZING!

For a full video of Akia reading her original story, click here.

Spartan Connections - SpartanNash provided a generous gift to support Summer Library programming, providing all the snacks for the weeks of camp and hosting a field trip to Family Fare. The "Spartan" connection continued as families visited MSU as an option for college. Library students also visited the MSU Medical Center. And finally, the MSU Extension Office provided cooking classes for both the Library and Arts Center.