Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Travel the World at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Hangzhou: Connecting with China is the newest exhibit at Discovery Gateway, opening to the public
on May 19. Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China presents four
children from Hangzhou in several environments, including at home, at school,
and in the countryside. The Chinese children will introduce themselves through
media and the activities of their daily lives. Visitors will discover that
Chinese life today mixes ancient traditions with modern lifestyles. This
exhibit is a bridge to learn about China and build cross-cultural
understanding. It features original artwork created to present a unique Chinese
aesthetic that delivers an immediate and unmistakable impression: You are in China.
Through this exhibit, Discovery Gateway
Children’s Museum strives to increase awareness around China. In distinctively
Chinese settings, visitors will “meet” children with different interests and in
different environments. The exhibit will dispel stereotypes and demystify the
nation of China. It is organized into several components with lessons and
activities woven throughout.
Gateway membership holders are invited to preview the exhibit on Thursday, May
18 from 1 – 3 pm. The grand opening of Children
of Hangzhou: Connecting with China will be Friday,
May 19 from 11 am – 2 pm. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum will also host
several Chinese Dual Immersion school groups and encourage them to put their
studies to practice by engaging with the exhibit in their secondary language. The
grand opening will kick off with a Lion Dance performed by Calvin Smith
Elementary students, and several performances by artists from Utah’s Chinese
community will follow. The University of Utah’s Confucius Institute will
provide hands-on activities for children and families including Chinese paper
cutting, origami, and calligraphy.
Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China was
produced by Boston Children’s Museum as part of the Freeman Foundation Asian
Culture Exhibit Series, funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by
Association of Children’s museums. All underlying materials, including all
artwork and the use of Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China characters
are used with permission of Boston Children’s Museum.
Kristin Jahne is
the Marketing Coordinator at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. When she’s
not fixing member issues or analyzing data, you can find her interacting with
patrons around the museum or helping plan events for DG members.
An Earnest Ticket Tuesday with Pinnacle Acting Company
A winner has been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday with Pinnacle Acting Company. Congrats to Maria N. in West Jordan!
Stay tuned for future giveaways.
Chicks and Chirps: Edward's Pheasants at Tracy Aviary
The weather is warming up, bulbs are blooming, and for Tracy Aviary,
it means its hatching season. In March, Tracy Aviary welcomed the hatching of
five Edwards’s Pheasant chicks! Edwards’s Pheasants are found in only three
provinces in central Vietnam and are thought to be extinct in the wild, which
makes this hatching all the more exciting!
Tracy Aviary participates in a Species Survival Plan to breed this
beautiful bird, increase their numbers in captivity, and ensure they have a future. The chicks are currently being raised by
their mom and dad in the lush Treasures of the Rainforest exhibit and getting accustomed
to finding food on their own, flying, and exploring their habitat. Edwards’s
Pheasants are very secretive and prefer to spend their time hiding under dense
foliage while foraging on the ground for food. The keepers are providing
mealworms, crickets, and specially formulated pheasant pellets for the family
to eat. Sometimes it is difficult to see the
chicks, as mom can be very protective, but if you listen closely you can hear
the family chirping to each other as they explore their habitat.
The chicks should reach their adult weight by the time they are 6 months
old. Males weigh about 900 grams where
females weigh about 600 grams. We will be able to tell if they are male or
female by the time they are 3 months old based on their feather coloration. Exposing
them to important husbandry tools like scales will help us monitor their growth
and overall health throughout their life without being too invasive in their
daily behaviors. Waxworms, which we also refer to as “bird candy”, are a great
way to reward these brave little birds for their curiosity in stepping up on
the scale! These precious little chicks
are vital to the future of their species, so to see them growing so well is
Visitors will have fun
searching for these little chicks inside Treasures of the Rainforest and will
be thrilled when they catch sight of them! As an open air exhibit, Treasures of
the Rainforest is a unique experience where guests get to see birds free-flying
Guests should plan a visit to
Tracy Aviary soon, for these chicks won’t be chicks for long! Along with
exploring Treasures of the Rainforest, guests will be able to participate in
fun summer programming. Our busy summer schedule includes something for everyone - daily bird
shows, nature play for the kids, daily feeding opportunities, nose-to-beak
encounters, and concerts the second Sunday of the month (June-September). Tracy
Aviary is open Monday-Sunday, 9am-5pm, with later hours on Monday nights (open
till 8pm June-August). For more information visit www.tracyaviary.org.
Julie Roehner is the Marketing
& Events Coordinator at Tracy Aviary. New to the Aviary, she is enjoying
learning about all of the species on grounds from the rest of Tracy Aviary
Ticket Tuesday with Tracy Aviary
A winner has been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway courtesy Tracy Aviary.
Congrats to Robert M. in Taylorsville!
Justice-Seeking Super Robot Takes on Arts Education
Or, How I Switched From a Deficit Mindset to an Asset-based Approach
Editor's note: This blog originally appeared on Americans for the Arts' ArtsBlog.
Let’s get something out of the way at the beginning. For me, art is about connection.
Now, a story.
I remember it distinctly. I was dressed like a robot. It was Halloween, and I was at recess when I heard it. Name calling! As a machine, I was brave enough to stand up and say that wasn’t okay with me. Even as a preschooler, I was obsessed with inclusion. I found power in fighting the good fight. I wasn’t just a regular robot that day. I was a justice-seeking super robot.
I found the arts. I took piano lessons, went to Shakespeare camp, and sang poorly in high school musicals. Arts education was a big part of my childhood. It was so ingrained in my experience that I felt every child must have had these same opportunities.
But that isn’t the case.
Fast forward to my first jobs outside college.
As a teacher, and former justice-seeking super robot, I saw a need. Low-income children of color weren’t in my Shakespeare classes. If art is about connection, why wasn’t I seeing that reflected in my classes?
I went back to school. I was going to learn how to save the world by connecting art to low-income children of color.
Thankfully, I learned that I was fighting the wrong fight. Access to arts education wasn’t a bad goal, but simply having access to arts education wouldn’t bring real connection or equity. Simply put, traditional arts education often does not value low-income communities of color.
For example, I read about a public, arts-focused charter school. Students of color interviewed in the article explained that their dance class spent one “token” week on hip-hop as a break from “foundational” ballet.
Or there are the myriad stories about low-income students of color who weren’t deemed “talented” enough to be placed in the elite youth orchestra because they hadn’t had the opportunity to take lessons as a young child. These cases are real and common. And they demonstrate that communities of color are consistently undervalued by traditional arts education.
In these situations, arts education was not the road to connection. Structures like this perpetuate inequity. I had to learn that. I needed to recognize that by saying this community needed Shakespeare, I was saying I had the power to define what art is. This happens a lot. And it usually favors Eurocentric art.
I don’t have anything against Shakespeare, but I didn’t need to bring Shakespeare or Bach or Monet to low-income students of color that needed art. What I needed to do was recognize that art is already in every community, and that students have their own power to create art. I needed to shift my approach.
So instead of entering a community as a teacher and bringing a prescribed text or curriculum, I would enter as a learner. I needed to value the community and learn from them. I needed to connect with my students—to see their stories and experiences as equal to my own. To see my students for more than their perceived needs.
I needed a new approach to arts education. So, I scanned the literature, and I found an approach that works with, and values, oppressed groups. It’s called an asset-based arts education.
An asset-based arts education works in solidarity with the community. It is mutually beneficial and builds social capital. The programming must be multicultural and value a diversity of stories and voices. And, finally, the work and environment must be empowering and participant-led. (I wonder how this approach might work beyond the classroom.)
I got a chance to put this method to the test. I worked with a group of amazing students at an afterschool program, and the biggest thing I learned seemed simple. I learned hope. There is reason to hope for a better, more equitable, world.
And it isn’t going to be me that saves it.
It’s going to be my students.
In a world that oppresses my students and tells them no (loudly and often), they practiced a playful resistance and claimed their power. They even wrote this line for our play:
“I am equal. Life is equal. No life is higher than another.”
This line was more beautiful and meaningful to us than Shakespeare ever could have been.
A more connected world is possible. And I didn’t need to be a justice-fighting super robot. I just needed to be human. To shut my mouth. To connect. To listen. To learn. And, because I focused on the assets of my students, they (thankfully!) saw some good in me, too. That’s real connection.
And who doesn’t want to live in a world like that?
Megan Noyce Attermann is the Grant and Communication Program Manager for the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program. She has a Master of Arts in Community Leadership, with an emphasis in Arts and Cultural Leadership, from Westminster College, and a BA in Theatre Arts and English from the University of Puget Sound. She sits on the advisory committee for the Salt Lake Emerging Arts Professionals and loves to teach afterschool classes.