During the pandemic, the Sundog Theater did it all – teaching theater, dance, music, art and more in 41 schools
STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Sundog Theater didn’t miss a beat when it came to bringing arts programming to K-12 students during the 2020-21 pandemic shutdown and months beyond followed.
Whether streaming, video or in person, Sundog’s artist-teachers delivered 83 arts programs in 41 schools, primarily based on Staten Island.
And three of the programs have been incorporated into the curriculum of PS 19 in Port Richmond, PS 78 in Clifton and PS 53 in Bay Terrace.
PS 19 chose to make an auditorium fresco in person, designed and painted by students and artist Lina Montoya.
Measuring 36 feet long and 4 feet high, the mural spans the entire width of the back wall of the auditorium. It portrays a myriad of themes which include conservation, inclusion, the arts, disabilities, the words “More Love” written in sign language, and the school’s mascot – a lion.
PS 78 saw exterior doors painted by students and Montoya depicting a number of school themes, such as school culture, community, and kindness.
“At PS 78, we have four core values - collaboration, achievement, respect and effort – and the artwork depicted on these doors reflects each one of them,” said Jodi Contento, Director of PS 78. “By working alongside an artist, our students discover artistic techniques, production and creativity, while beautifying our neighborhood. Ideas are student-driven and generated based on the needs of our community. As a Director, this partnership means everything to me and our community here at Stapleton.
Funded by City Councilor Joseph Borelli, Sundog also offered a fully online program at PS 53 in which student reporters, photographers and graphic illustrators created a 28-page color newspaper.
With articles on topics ranging from the Mars rover to local politicians, COVID-19, Broadway, school news and cellphones, students researched a wide range of topics. Teaching artists taught students how to conduct interviews, take photos that tell a story or approach a topic from a unique perspective, and create infographics to illustrate articles.
Sundog taught drama, dance, music, visual arts, and literacy programs to approximately 6,000 students during the 2020-21 school year, and that doesn’t even count the number of those who have. seen performances and exhibits created by the students, ”said Susan Fenley, Director of Sundog. director. “Our staff have worked very hard to make sure everything runs smoothly. And Victoria Colella, our head of arts education, is a rock star.
Fenley said she believes the arts have helped people get through the pandemic.
“When COVID hit, people turned to streaming shows, music, line dancing videos and music to cope, learn new things and be entertained. People everywhere have found that engaging in the arts at any age is still relevant, ”she said.
Fenley went on to explain that the Sundog Theater school arts programs have now been incorporated into the DOE’s Summer Rising program with a number of theater, dance and art projects for the summer months.
ABOUT SUNDOG THEATER
Founded in 2002, the Sundog Theater presents original and contemporary in-school theater and arts programming rooted in theater, visual arts, dance, music and literacy. The programs are offered to students from kindergarten to high school.
In addition, the Sundog Theater offers theater lessons all year round for children aged 6 to 17 and organizes educational production tours every year.
For more information visit www.SundogTheater.org or dial 718-816-5453.