Kindermusik seen as boost to GO-ART

Jan 28, 2016

BATAVIA — What good is an art gallery if nobody sees it? And how can an arts and cultural group provide assistance and resources if artists don’t know about them?

Those are questions Jennifer Gray, interim director of the Genesee Regional Arts Council, is asking and, more importantly, trying to answer. The solution, she believes, is by hosting more events and programs inside the group’s offices, Seymour Place, 201 East Main St.

“We’re trying to get ourselves back into the public eye,” said Gray, who was named the group’s director this week after serving as interim director for three months. “To grow our membership, we actually have to have people physically in the building. To me, that means in-house programming.

“I think it can solve numerous problems. If nobody comes in to see what we have going on, if nobody comes in to see where all the galleries are, if nobody’s coming in to get information on artists and appraisers ... if they’re not physically coming into the building and asking questions about what we can do to provide arts and culture for them, then we have to spend a whole lot of money outside on the advertising of this business. ... I just kept coming back to that; nobody knows we’re here.”

To that end, Gray has been reaching out to different people and groups to add programming. The first one she has landed is Kindermusik, a program based on music and movement for young children. The 12-week courses will begin in February, led by Batavia resident Wendy Williams.

“Kindermusik is a combination of creative movement, instrumental play, singing and rhyming,” explained Williams, who has taught Kindermusik for 20 years in Clarence and Cleveland. “It’s developmentally based, which means we use music to help kids learn language skills, cognitive skills, physical development and emotional development. And the parents come to class with them, so we’re also engaging the families in live music making, which is something that is missing a lot in our culture today.”

Williams will present two, 45-minute classes for different age groups. Our Time is geared toward children ages 18 months to 3 and a half years, while Family Time is designed for children birth to 5 years. The cost is $180 per child; GO-ART! members receive a $10 discount.

According to Williams and Gray, the Kindermusik program is one that Batavians have been asking about for years.

“I still teach in Clarence, but increasingly parents in this area were saying they want quality arts and music for their children,” Williams said. “And they don’t want to drive to Buffalo or Rochester to get it.”

Kindermusik is a published curriculum started by Dan Pratt in the 1960s. It’s based upon a German program he discovered while he was studying in Cologne, Germany. The philosophy is to combine music and movement for young children to boost cognitive learning.

Williams will teach her classes in the Main Gallery, which she called a “perfect space.”

“It has enough room for the kids to move, the light is wonderful, and it has rotating art that the kids can see,” she said.

Gray promises there is more to come at GO-ART!.

“I have about four or five people I’m working with about new programs,” she said. “My goal is that for a month, once a week, we have something going on in this building. That, I think, is very doable. It could be a one-day workshop, or a series of workshops that build on each other.

I’ve had a lot of people come and say they’re really interested in being an instructor. Others call and say they just want to take classes. I understand there is a lot of anxiety about people who want to learn something, a new skill or technique. But they don’t know how to ask. I want to gear toward introductory classes that build on skill levels, so you can take three or four a year and they build on the skills you learned before.”

For more information on Kindermusik classes, go to www.goart.org, orwww.soundfoundations.kindermusik.com.

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by Matt Krueger, The Daily News (1/23/2015)
For online article, click here!