This September, 2020, in partnership with Círculos Academy High School in Santa Ana, we are piloting a high school arts residency, focused on personal voice in the midst of hardship and social unrest. All on Zoom!

Narrative, Poetry, Art, and Dance

I wonder if darkness could kill light
I pretend to be under the rain
I understand life is not perfect
I touch air, feeling my grandpa
I pretend (that I am playing soccer in a real soccer stadium)
I wonder what the world would look like if grass were not green
I hope in the future there will be great things coming my way
I say world peace can happen if we try hard enough
I dream to do something 
even though you do not want to or you find it difficult
I wonder what I will be when I grow up
I touch the hand of my future self, 
assuring me it’s gonna be okay

--Selected lines from "I Am" poems, written by 9th graders  
after reading "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou and 
discussing the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

Have you ever asked the question, “what’s that person’s story?” Whether it’s where they were born, their family background, the traditions and cultures that shape them, the challenges they experience in their lives, or their aspirations or dreams, every human being has a story. In this unit, you are going to explore what shapes our stories, and you will venture into creativity by using your own story to write a personal narrative, create art, and express your story through dance! 

Hand painting based on student’s “I Am” poem

Understanding and appreciating one’s own personal experiences, cultural background, and identity is essential for analyzing literature (from author’s voice to characterization) and it is also beneficial for you to dive deep into your own story and find value in who you are! 

Students will create their own stories of self and community through poetry-writing and choreographing personal dance sequences, to the Ash and Feather podcast theme song, “Something Inside.”

Artwork by Allesse Patterson
Dance Choreography for Freshmen in the “Something Inside” Residency, by Allie Fogel

For Schools: Reading and Activities about Ash & Feather. Raising Our Voices through Creative Writing and the Arts, by Sharon Frances, PhD. To be published in the Social Justice Sewing Academy’s Curriculum Handbook.

Reading List

The Ash and Feather Podcast

Two Black American dads and teen daughter, Phoenix, take a journey through brain cancer. Poetry, songs, fables, and love help Phoenix develop her rich sense of self. She rises from the ashes of hardship, where cancer becomes only a minor character in her story.

For more on the podcast, visit our Ash and Feather page.

Get moving. Feel the glow. Dance like no one is watching. Check out our Ash+Feather Playlist!

Does your school receive Title I funds, with families who have food and housing insecurity? Do you work with Dreamers and undocumented families? Do you have a group of students experiencing grief and loss, are impacted by cancer or have family members with cancer?

We can bring an arts residency to you. CONTACT US.