ABS Thursday Notes- March 21, 2024

Published for the Arts Based School Community

March 21, 2024

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“The golden way is to be friends with the community and to regard the whole human family as one.” – Mahatma Gandhi


ABS is located in the center of an arts-rich city. We have developed partnerships with local organizations who contribute to our experience of the community as an extension of the classroom. Here are just a few examples of our community partners:


Delta Fine Arts is a small museum less than two miles away, and has partnered with our school since the very first year of our existence. Delta is focused on (but not restricted to) the artwork of regional African American artists. We keep informed about their exhibits and visit when they match up with our studies and our students.


SECCA (The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.) With ever-changing exhibits of local and national artists, SECCA is uncommonly welcoming to students. On-site lessons, performances, attendance at exhibits, staff meetings off site, meetings with artists, and even exhibitions of our students’ work are all part of our relationship with this generous organization. We’ll be performing “Brundibar” there with 7th grade in April.


UNCSA (The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.) We have partnered with each department at UNCSA and are inspired every year by their dynamic students and faculty, who generously lift us up with their energy and expertise. Dancers, musicians, film makers, visual artists, actors, general studies students, and professors from all these departments have learned and created together with us. The possibilities are endless.


The Hispanic Arts Initiative. This organization brought us musicians, dancers, lecturers, and artists. They advised us in authentic dance and costume design, built costumes for us, found us a Mariachi band, suggested curricular materials, and participated in our fundraiser. Although they have disbanded, their impact on us is a lasting one.


Reynolda House. Our students tour this local treasure annually. We often design our own tour, based on current studies at the grade level visiting, and the Reynolda staff has supported our creative ideas, even crafting activities to support them. We walk their wooded trails, picnic on the lawn, stroll through the gardens, visit the grand home interior, attend special exhibits, and focus on permanent collection pieces that fit into specific studies.


The Winston-Salem Symphony. We attend youth concerts at the symphony annually. The conductors have visited, symphony players have performed and worked with our students, and the Wind Quintet, which originated at the Symphony with Conductor Emeritus Peter Perret, has visited our school every year since our inception, not including Covid restricted years.


Wake Forest University. Our students have both toured and been interviewed at Wake’s WFDD public radio station, whose David Ford has participated in our fundraiser, and is a current board member.  ABS students have visited or been visited by the Museum of Anthropology every year, borrowing trunks of objects that support learning about far-flung cultures of the world. We have visited the Hanes Gallery, performed in Wait Chapel and Brendle Hall, worked with Wake film students, and visited the library. We’ve been repeatedly inspired by visiting musical and dance faculty and students from WFU.


Bookmarks. Our relationship with this fresh and popular literary arts organization includes visits from authors, who read to us, draw for us, sign books for us, (even sing with us…remember Edina Menzel?) and share insights about writing. Their annual festival attracts abundant ABS families. In 2018 our students visited the BB&T Ballpark to meet author Dav Pilkey (along with 2,000 other students.) We  never know what Bookmarks will bring us next!


Winston Salem State University. The astonishing Burke Singers visit us almost every year, crafting their performances to fit the ages of the students in the audience, and sharing glorious music as well as important lessons about race and history. (We will welcome them again next week, for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students.) We have visited the treasured murals of John Biggers at the WSSU library, attended performances on campus, and visited Diggs Gallery. We also host many student teachers from WSSU.


A/perture Cinema. This beloved art films theater downtown has hosted us many a time, to see our own 6th grade film premieres in an intimate cinema, or attend a special movie related to the studies of other grades.


Salem College. The lovely little gallery in the Salem College Fine Arts Center is often host to works that are just right for our students to visit. One memorable visit was to the works of Kevin Calhoun, an ABS dad and frequent donor to our Community Creates fundraiser. We paired that with a quick organ concert by Salem professor Timothy Olson in the adjoining Shirley Recital Hall. The Bach and the Calhoun had similarities that the students could compare and write about.


Piedmont Opera. Piedmont Opera sends singers from UNCSA’s Fletcher Opera Institute each year, to perform for our K-2 students. With 7th or 8th grade students we often attend “Student Night at the Opera” when the story is appropriate for these grades.


Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. This great community theater organization is completing its 90th year! We wait and watch with excitement each spring as announcements are made about the upcoming season. We often bring 7th graders to see A Christmas Carol after they have studied it in Language Arts. We hope each year to find just the right play for our kids to attend during student performances, and our students often perform there.


RiverRun Film Festival. Here’s another organization who changes student offerings each year. When the new invitation arrives, we check the content of the film against our curriculum and find just the right match for students to attend.


Old Salem. Visits to this treasured Moravian village, which marks our city’s beginnings, is a favorite field trip for several grades. Old Salem recently marked its 250th anniversary! We also make annual visits to Home Moravian Church, to learn about organ pipes and hear a great demonstration for our integrated science-of-sound and music studies. 


Mural Walks and Trade Street Galleries

From time to time, we lead a walking tour of downtown public murals. Now and then there is a gallery show in one of the small Trade Street galleries or DADA that is just right to add to the walking tour. Sometimes we host visiting artists from the elegant Piedmont Craftsmen gallery. And if you attend “Gallery Hop” in downtown Winston-Salem, you are sure to meet many friends from ABS.


Mixxer Community Makerspace is a relatively new neighbor and friend, right across the street. Alan Shelton, Mixxer’s founder, gifted us with the tailor-made plexiglass screens at both of our reception desks when we needed them during Covid restrictions, and a few years ago our 6th graders participated in the dramatic “iron pour” at Mixxer, watching as iron changed from red hot liquid to heavy solid. 


There are more! Our hope is to acquaint our students with the rich arts resources in their community, so that they feel “This is for me!” when they pass by or walk in. We are lucky that both campuses are where we are, right in the center of the action.

Parent Council News

March Parent Council meeting recording 

Save the date for the next meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 12 noon.  It will be a virtual meeting.


School Calendar 2024-25

The ABS board approved the 24-25 student calendar at this week’s meeting.  The first day for students is August 12, 2024.  Thanks for everyone's effort in providing feedback.

2024 ABS Summer Camps

Did you know there are only 45 days left to register for 2024 Summer Camps? There are new updates for certain camps as well as two new Rising Kindergarten Camps! Families who have already registered for a camp should receive an invoice within the next week. Remember to have everything done by May 3rd! 


Registration is OPEN for Summer Camps! Please follow the link below to register. Click on the title of the camp that you would like to register for and fill out the Google Form. 

2024 ABS Summer Camp Registration   Contact Ashley Tate at [email protected] with any questions. 

Ways to get involved and learn more about ABS: