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Special Teaching Resources in the Arts (Spectra)

Image from SpectraFest at Westwood

Our goal is to make the arts an essential part of every student’s education.  

SPECTRA artists represent some of Tuscaloosa’s best.  These artists are highly skilled professionals selected not only for artistic excellence, but also for the ability to communicate effectively with young people. For students, a tremendous variety of in-school arts activities allow student involvement in visual arts, music, and acting. Concerts, demonstrations and other activities are also available both in-school and on site throughout the community.

Connecting artists to classrooms with these easy steps:

  • Read policies then select the art activities or performances based on your classroom or curriculum needs.
  • Calculate the total cost for the program (including classroom size and/or mileage if noted).
  • Secure approval from your administrator or principal.
  • Call or email Sharron Rudowski, Education Director, with the name of your selected activity, preferred date and time and number of students participating.

Policies

The In-School Concert/Demonstrations and Plays for Children offer a careful balance of performance and instruction.  Space needs are flexible. Program lengths vary from 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the program and audience age.  Some experiences are offered in workshop format only, in which a classroom size group works closely with an artist and has the opportunity to participate more effectively in the artistic process. Maximum class size has been established to assure successful involvement of all students.  

Teachers must remain with students for the duration of all activities. Prices for each event vary and are listed with each program description. When maximum numbers are exceeded, the program fee may increase.  
Federal Mileage Rates may apply for some programs.

Programs are scheduled subject to the availability of the artists. To schedule a program, contact Sharron Rudowski, Education Director, at 345-9801, or email education@tuscarts.org. It will be helpful to have your school’s calendar, daily schedule and enrollment figures when calling. A confirmation/invoice will be sent after scheduling.  

All scheduled and confirmed programs are considered binding. Two weeks’ notice must be given by the school if the program is to be rescheduled. Should illness, inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances prevent the artist from performing, SPECTRA will offer the school the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.

Music and Dance

1  ALABAMA BLUES PROJECT
History comes alive through music. The history of the Blues is presented highlighting important time periods in Alabama History. This 45 minute interactive program entertains and educates up to 500 students. GRADES: K-12  FEE: $250

2  THEATRE UAB CABARET: Cinemagic! Hollywood’s Best Movie Music
Celebrate the silver screen with this exciting revue spanning decades of movie magic. Selections include Moon River, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Under The Sea, Flashdance, Night Fever, Footloose, Meet The Flintstones, a medley from Frozen and many more!  GRADES:  All Grade Levels  TIME:  App. 40 minutes; Fridays only  FEE:  Tuscaloosa County: $200 + 57 cents per mile

3  OLD TIME BALLADS AND MUSIC
In this class Christopher Davenport will explore music and songs brought from the British Isles to Appalachia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Students will learn these songs and sing along to banjo, fiddle, and guitar. Handouts will be provided.  GRADES: All ages  FEE: $125 per session

4  A BLAST OF BRASS
A fun-filled 45-minute program designed to introduce students to the brass family of the symphony orchestra.  This narrated program is presented by the Tuscaloosa Symphony Brass Quintet.  Designed for audiences up to 500.  GRADES: K-6    FEE: $275

5  SINGING FROM BACH TO ROCK
A varied program by Shelton State Community College singers demonstrates unique vocal styles that can be heard from classical arias to Broadway and pop styles.  
GRADES: K-6    FEE: no fee

6  GET RHYTHM®
An interactive rhythm program with award winning master teaching artist, John Scalici, this program puts a drum in the hands of every student as they learn about respect, communication and teamwork through rhythm. Emphasis on the Djembe (West African drum), its meanings and its worldwide impact on music and society.   GRADES: 3-8    FEE: $600 for Full Day Program = all classes by rotation (artist prefers maximum of 50). Sessions are 45 min each. Fees are all inclusive.

7  SYMPHONIC PETTING ZOO
Children will receive hands-on experience with a variety of symphonic instruments such as violin, trumpet, flute, etc. from the Tuscaloosa Symphony Guild.  Limited to 30 students per half-hour.  GRADES: 3 - 5    FEE: no fee

8  WHAT IS JAZZ?
A fun look into jazz through performance and interaction between students and musicians.  Jazz is put into context for students then introduced to the jazz style, repertoire and history.  Presented by faculty and students in Jazz Studies at UA. 25 - 50 minutes.  GRADES: K-6    FEE: $175

9  DANCE THROUGH THE MUSIC
Explores movement and its development from its origins to the present.  Students participate in an interactive program that explores dance in relation to the evolution of music then create their own work.  45 minutes. Designed for groups up to 30. GRADES: K-5    FEE: $80

10  BOLLYWOOD DANCE
A mixture of classical Indian dance with Western moves and gymnastics. Enjoyed by all age groups. Taught by Dibya Singh, local dance and yoga teacher.  45 minutes. Designed for groups up to 30. GRADES: K-12    FEE: $80

 

Storytelling and Theatre

11  THEATRE UAB KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Bullies and School Safety
This program on dealing with bullies raises questions and offers solutions about this age old problem. How should you respond when you’re being bullied? Why do people bully other people? What constitutes bullying? How can you make bullying stop? All of these questions and more are addressed in this insightful and challenging program.  GRADES: K-5  Time: 40 minutes; Fridays only  FEE: Tuscaloosa County: $200 + 57 cents per mile

12  THEATRE UAB SHAKESPEARE COMPANY: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Abridged
The hilarious highlights of the Bard’s enchanting comedy are presented by a company of five actors. Young lovers find their lives complicated by feuding faeries, magic and mayhem. GRADES: Middle Schools, High Schools  Time:  App. 50 min.; Fridays Only  FEE: Tuscaloosa County: $200 + 57 cents per mile.

13  THEATRE UAB PRESENTS ALICE IN WONDERLAND
This compact version of the Lewis Carroll masterpiece has been delighting audiences for years at the Columbus, OH Children’s Theatre. Alice’s plummet down the rabbit hole introduces her to a host of outlandish characters, ingeniously played by four actors. Grades: K-6  Time: App. 45 min.; Fridays only FEE: Tuscaloosa County: $200 + 57 cents per mile

14  STORYTELLING
Some of West Alabama’s finest actors are available to tell a variety of tales or those that are appropriate to your current curriculum with advance notification.  GRADES:  K-6    FEE:  $55

15  THE THEATRE UAB TOLERANCE PROJECT

Theatre UAB’s innovative Tolerance Project explores behaviors, choices and consequences in the middle and high school arenas. Four scenarios are presented on Mixing It Up at Lunchtime: Including New People in Your Group; Real Consequences of Gossiping and Bullying on Social Media; Hurtfulness and Bias in Popular Song Lyrics; and The Differences Between Supporting Your Team and Verbal Abuse of the Other Team. Actors will lead discussions after each scenario to help foster awareness in students of the power of their actions, words, and thoughts. The program is an excellent addition to diversity and tolerance strategies explored in the classroom.   GRADES: Middle & High Schools (To encourage discussion, The Tolerance Project works best for audiences of 50 students or less.) TIME: App. 50 min.; Fridays only FEE: Tuscaloosa County: $200 + 57 cents per mile

16  SHAKE HANDS WITH SHAKESPEARE
The Peanutbutter and Jelly Players present a friendly, hands-on introduction to the mysterious bard, in which children will explore some of the academic basics and will be involved in staging adapted scenes from the author’s best loved plays.  Can accommodate up to 30 students.  Sessions 1 hour (2 day session recommended). GRADES: 5-8   FEE: $100 a day

17  IN-SCHOOL ACTING WORKSHOPS
These workshops introduce students to the concepts of performance through theatre games and improvisation.  30 students or fewer per session. 1 to 2 hours in length (can accommodate class schedule).  GRADES: 1-12    FEE: $55 per session

18  THE PLAY'S THE THING
The Peanutbutter & Jelly Players present a hands-on acting workshop for children to learn the basics of acting through theater games, improvisations and short scenes from adapted fairy tales and fables. Can accommodate up to 30 children. Sessions 1 hour. GRADES: 3-5    FEE: $75

Visual Art and Craft

19  FUN WITH ALTERNATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY PROCESSES!
In the age of clicks and beeps, photography continues to capture our moments and imaginations. When and how did this magic begin? During Fun with Alternative Photography Processes with Christopher Davenport, students will learn various digital photography and imaging techniques to print beautiful and creative Cyanotype photographs. Van Dyke and Cyanotype are safe and lo-fi processes developed during the 19th century requiring only paper, a few chemicals, and the sun. GRADES: All ages FEE: $175; Limit 15 per session

20  DON'T HATE THE SELFIE
A modern spin on studying the history of  self portraiture  and learning about the visual message a self portrait sends to their viewers. Each student will create a self portrait using oil pastels while observing master self portraits and learning about the history behind them. GRADES: All ages FEE: $60 per class  SUPPLIES: $2 per child

21  BOOK ARTS FOR KIDS
An exploration of the book as an art object.  A brief history of handmade books will be presented, with an emphasis on bookbinding.  Students will be instructed on how to create books out of paper, thread, glue, and card stock, they will then write and illustrate their own book. Designed for small groups (30 or fewer).  Up to 60 minutes.  GRADES: 1-8  FEE: $80 / Federal mileage rate may apply. SUPPLIES: $2 per student 

22  DRAWING THROUGH SHAPES AND ART PRINTING TECHNIQUES
Sports Artist Rick Rush will teach students how to draw using common shapes and demonstrate the art of serigraph printing techniques. Students will also participate in a demonstration using a silkscreen image. All students will leave with a personally created masterpiece. Class to be held at the Rick Rush Fine Art Gallery, 2701 University Blvd. Groups of 45 students or less. 1 hour. GRADES: K-6   FEE: $125  SUPPLIES: Provided

CLASSES WITH ARTIST RUTH JATIB O'CONNOR
(23 - 26 A/B) Classes can be modified to fit any age.
23  DaVinci Sketchbooks
Students will learn about the Renaissance man, Leonardo DaVinci, his many talents and how he became many things, from mathematician and inventor to engineer and architect. Students will then see the connections between these subjects and how drawing can inform many fields. They will draw, make their own inventions, solve problems and create sketchbooks. Interdisciplinary Unit. 2 day lesson, 1 hour each. FEE: $150 plus $2 per student for materials

24  Musical Collages
Students will learn about artist Henri Matisse and his methods then make their own musically inspired collages in his style. This lesson connects music notes with visual elements and breaks down simple vocabulary terms that connect the two art forms. Kinesthetic movement involved. Interdisciplinary Unit. 2 hours (can be done in 2 one-hour lessons).  FEE: $150 plus $2 per student for materials

25  Animals, Animals, Animals
Inspired by Eric Carle, students will learn how to look at animals and make them out of simple shapes. This lesson starts with reading one of Eric Carle’s books and taking a closer look at his artwork. Students will learn about the color wheel and vocabulary words associated with a basic understanding of color theory then make their own colored paper before the cutting of shapes begins. 2 day lesson.  FEE: $150 plus $2 per student for materials

26  Bringing the Art Museum to the Classroom
These two lessons are aimed at exposing children to the visual fine arts and how to respond to artwork beyond “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” This helps their eyes to see, their minds to think critically and their mouths to speak with a more appropriate vocabulary. They do not produce an art “product” but will learn critical thinking skills. No supply fees apply.

A. Critical Response: Surrounded by large image reproductions of famous art works, students will explore important questions and distinctions about art. Through interactive play, students learn to evaluate art with different criteria, differentiate between preference and judgement and respect differences of opinion about art. For older groups, a writing exercise can be applied. 1 hour. FEE: $75

B. Fabulous Four: Students will learn about four famous artists and how to differentiate their distinct styles. This introduction to painting techniques, styles and subject matter will help develop their art vocabulary and encourage a wide range of ways to classify art. Interactive lesson and group discussion based. Lesson can be modified to introduce any media: painting, sculpture, photography, etc. 1 hour. FEE: $75

27  INDIAN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS (DIWALI)
Exploration of the festival of Diwali and the significance of diyas (candle making with clay and gems). 45 minutes. Designed for groups up to 30. Taught by Dibya Singh.  GRADES: K-12    FEE: $50  SUPPLY FEE: $1 per child

28  NATIVE AMERICAN POTTERY
Two part class - Session 1 (2 hours): Overview of Southeastern Indian pottery, how to hand build and decorate a pot and make an “animal effigy.” Pottery is taken away to be fired.    Session 2 (1 hour): Fired pottery is brought back to the class for students to paint with acrylic paints then seal.  Designed for small groups (30 or less) but can accommodate up to two separate classes at the same school per day.  GRADES: 3-6    FEE: $100 / Federal mileage rate applies for distances longer than 100 miles round trip.  SUPPLIES: $2 per child

29  FACE JUGS FOR LITTLE FOLKS
In the traditional style of Southern folk potters, children will love sculpting faces on pre-made mini-face jugs. Presented by Kerry Kennedy.  GRADES: K-6    FEE: $8 per child

30  INDIAN CRAFTS
Students can create their own dream catcher and weave a talking feather while learning the folklore behind the craft through storytelling as well as hands-on experience.  The University of Alabama Museums lead this hands-on experience.  Designed for small groups (30 or fewer).  Three hour project.  GRADES:  4-6    FEE: $100  SUPPLIES: $2 per child

31  BASKETRY
Students learn about Native American baskets, examining a wide variety.  Stories told about Grandmother Spider and how she brought weaving to native people.  Each child then weaves a small basket and attaches a leather strap.   2-3 hours. GRADES: 4-6    FEE: $150 / Federal mileage rate applies for distances longer than 100 miles round trip. SUPPLIES: $3 per child

32  PAPERMAKING
Students will make their own paper from old jeans, t-shirts and various plants and will have the option of embedding their paper with seeds to plant.  1 hour.  GRADES: K-5   FEE: $80 / Federal mileage rate applies outside of Tuscaloosa County.   
SUPPLIES: $2 per student

33  GOURD MASKS
Students learn why certain masks were important to Native Americans with a variety of gourd masks displayed for reference. Precut gourds are available to make similar projects. Each student picks the mask they will make, cleans and prepares the gourd and decorates their mask.  Designed for small groups (30 or less) but can do up to two separate classes at the same school per day.  1.5-2 hours.   GRADES: 2-6    FEE: $100 instructor fee / Federal mileage rate applies for distances longer than 100 miles round trip.  SUPPLIES: $4 per child

34  GLASS BEAD-MAKING DEMO
The art of bead-making, also known as lampworking,  will be traced back to its origins while demonstrating the complexities and creative potential of ornamental bead and glass design.
GRADES: K-8   FEE: $155 per day for multiple demonstrations or $55 for a single class demonstration; Federal mileage rate may apply.

35  MOSAICS
Explore the exciting and fun art of mosaics.  Students will learn about the different types of materials and tools used to make mosaics.  A mosaic piece will be created for your school to display after the demonstration. GRADES: K-6   FEE: $200 per demonstration day plus supplies

36  PATCHWORK HISTORY MOSAICS
Students learn about the historical Quilters of Gee’s Bend, AL, the elements of design and the art of stained glass mosaics in an arts/social studies integrated program with DANA Teaching Artist, Linda Muñoz.  Students make a stained glass mosaic quilt to hang in their school.  Fee: (Includes supplies) 1 Day Program (1 hour): $225-students will make a small quilt panel (24 inches x 24 inches); 2 Day Program (1 hour each day): students will make a larger quilt panel (36 inches x 36 inches): $425; 3 Day Program (1 hour each day): students will make the larger quilt and will grout it: $600 / Federal mileage rate may apply.

37  DESIGNING A BIRDHOUSE GOURD
Students will create a fun, colorful temporary gourd home for migrating birds. Missy Miles will lead the class in painting techniques, lessons on composition/scale,  and the interesting history of the gourd.  GRADES: 1-6  FEE: $75 / Federal mileage rate applies.  SUPPLIES: $4 per student

38  RAKU
The 500 year old Japanese method of rapid firing
pottery. Watch as the colors come to life when the pottery is removed from the hot kiln. Daniel Livingston will demonstrate the process and explain how the firing works.  The demonstration must be done outdoors. GRADES: K-12  FEE: $75 for a single demonstration (approx. 90 min.) $200 per day (up to 3 demonstrations)

 

Special Resources for Teachers

Tuscaloosa, Northport, and The University of Alabama offer a wealth of information, activities, and services to support local teachers in their quest for a well-rounded arts experience for their students.  All venues require reservations.

TUSCALOOSA FEDERAL BUILDING AND COURTHOUSE
The facility features 16 (14’ x 9’) murals located on the second floor and painted by artist Caleb O’Connor.  The subject matter includes depictions of the history and industrial growth of Tuscaloosa, North Alabama and the nation.  Judicial tours are also offered.  Tours can accommodate groups up to 50.  All ages.  Call 561-1670 for more information or to schedule a tour.

TUSCALOOSA MUSEUM OF ART: HOME OF THE WESTERVELT COLLECTION
Come enjoy one of the most breathtaking collections of fine art in America and experience history from the heart of the Americas to the Far East in original masterpieces.  Featuring such artists and artisans as: John Singer Sargent, George Luks, Edward Potthast and Andrew Wyeth. Tours specifically geared to student groups include “Elementally Art” and “The American Spirit.” Call 205-562-5280 or email kthurman@westervelt.com or whawkins@westervelt.com for more information.

MURPHY AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSEUM
The Murphy African-American Museum offers innovative educational programs and changing exhibits that increase the knowledge of the accomplishments and contributions of local African-Americans in Tuscaloosa and the country as a whole.  Admission is free, and donations are accepted.  Call 758-2861 to schedule a tour.

UA SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Option 1. UA large ensembles (orchestra, band, choir) will open dress rehearsals for students to gain an appreciation for many types of music and preparation of concerts.  Option 2. UA School of Music faculty, staff and/or music students (classical or jazz) share information about their career with short demonstrations in a one-hour presentation. Days/times vary. Contact Dr. Jane Weigel at 348-6741.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA  ARBORETUM
The UA Arboretum maintains plant collections for botanical education and appreciation.  It features 2.5 miles of walking trails through a mature oak/hickory forest, wildflower garden, ornamental plants, children’s garden and a tree platform utilized for educational field trips.  Field trips can be tailored to classroom needs.  For more information or to schedule a visit, call
205-553-3278 or go to arboretum.ua.edu.

KENTUCK ART MUSEUM
The nationally recognized Kentuck Art Center welcomes small school groups for prearranged tours and demonstrations with Kentuck resident artists for a fee. Students ages 6 and up. Call 205-758-1257 for information.

CHILDREN'S HANDS-ON MUSEUM (CHOM)
CHOM offers a wide variety of educational opportunities and programs for students, preschool-6th grade.  Resources expand the school curriculum and enrich cultural and social education.  Each visit is unique and participatory, and with teacher input, the museum staff will gear the visit toward class objectives.  Admission charged. Reservations are required.  Call CHOM at 349-4235 for information.
 
ALABAMA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY / MOUNDVILLE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK
Field trips to the Alabama Museum of Natural History are tailored to fit the needs of your group.  Call 348-9473 to schedule a tour.  The 320-acre Moundville Archaeological Park features the Jones Archaeological Museum, preserves 26 prehistoric, Mississippian-era Indian Mounds and presents the  Moundville Native American Heritage Days.  To schedule a tour, call (205) 371-2234.

GALLERY TOURS
Field trips to local art galleries are available in Tuscaloosa. Call Sharron Rudowski at (205) 345-9801 to schedule visits that include informational tours.
Harrison Galleries
O’Connor Studio
Paul R. Jones Collection
Rick Rush Fine Art Gallery
Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
The Arts Council Galleries: Bama Theatre and/or CAC
UA Gallery at the CAC
U.S. Federal Building Murals

 

For reservations for Bama Fanfare or Fanfare Caravans contact

Sharron Rudowski
Director of Educational Programs
(205) 345-9801
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