From fence-weaving to Arabic alphabet-painting, tile-making to muraling, the art classes at Moffet Arab Arts After-School Program have produced a variety of wonderful projects since January 2015. Led by teaching artists Lisa Volta and Nancy Sophy, the Moffet students have continued to hone their artistry — developing technical skills as well as creative expressions. Additionally, two guest artists, muralist Cesar Viveros and mosaic/tile-maker Joe Brenman, have worked with the students. In collaboration with Raices Culturales, a Latino cultural organization based near the school, Cesar led 10 sessions with the students, conceptualizing, designing, and painting a mural that draws on the Latino, Arabic, and American heritages within the school. As part of a project sponsored by Artwell, another arts organization nearby, Joe led 4 sessions with the students, making tiles that celebrate their identities.
All the creative artwork produced by the students will be installed in the school’s garden in May. Their work reflects the diversity of the Moffet school community, drawing on their varied cultural heritage, aesthetics, and imaginations. In preparation for their art installations, a passionate group of parents and community residents that exemplifies the diversity of the West Kensington neighborhood will help clean up the garden, led by parent Margarita Abuawadeh, Al-Bustan program coordinator Max Dugan, and Temple University students Emily Ganser and Jennifer Johnson. They will replant the flower beds, replace the rotted wooden seating area, and clear weeds in preparation for installation of the students’ painted murals, alphabet tiles, mosaic tiles, and fence-woven tatreez (Palestinian embroidery).
Al-Bustan’s year-long Arab Arts After-School Program will culminate at Moffet’s Garden – El Jardin – Al-Bustan on Tuesday June 2 with a celebration open to the school community and neighboring residents. Kids and adults are invited to participate in art demonstrations led by teaching artists. Students in the music portion of the after-school program will showcase their songs and drumming solos led by musicians Hanna Khoury, Hafez Kotain, and Serge El Helou. Food and good conversations will be plenty — and we hope everyone will enjoy this end-of-school year celebration!
Al-Bustan’s program at Moffet School in 2014-15 is made possible largely with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, along with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, and Children Can Shape the Future.