On June 5, 2015, the Moffet School community came together in the rejuvenated garden at John Moffet School to celebrate the end of the After-school Arab Arts Program — an Al-Bustan initiative made possible with the support of William Penn Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation. Since Fall 2014, 50+ Moffet students in 2nd-5th grade have participated three days per week in art and music classes after-school. One group learned Arab percussion with Hafez Kotain and choir/music skills with Serge El Helou and Hanna Khoury. Another group participated in visual art projects with Nancy Sophy, Lisa Volta, Cesar Viveros (through a partnership with Raices Culturales Latinamericanas), and Joe Brenman (through a partnership with Artwell and Al-Aqsa Mosque). On several occasions during the year, the music students performed in public to receptive audiences at City Hall, Kimmel Center, and Smith Memorial Playground. Art students revitalized their school’s garden through a series of art projects to give identity to “El-Jardin” – “Al-Bustan” – “The Garden.” Nancy led students in creating Arabic alphabet tiles installed on the planters. Lisa led students in creating fence-woven tatreez (Palestinian embroidery). Cesar led students in painting mural panels to hang on the fence. Joe worked with the students to create mosaic clay tiles installed on the planters.
When the Moffet community came out to celebrate these wonderful accomplishments on June 5, they enjoyed tasty food and participated in art-making activities led by Lisa Volta, along with the choir performing a medley of songs (“Tik Tik Tik,” “Pitter Patter,” and “I Believe I Can Fly”), and ending with a rousing percussion performance.
Photos by Emily Ganser:
Special thanks to Al-Bustan Teachers and Program Coordinator Max Dugan, art assistant Stevie Sclotzhauer, dedicated Moffet teachers Irene Pelech, Kathy Medina, and Kristina Bustamante, and Moffet Principal Carmen Navarro. Al-Bustan also thanks Raices Culturales Latinamericanas and ArtWell for their collaboration.
We can’t wait to see what the next school year brings for our Moffet community!