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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

January 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Arts get kids in motion in the Rainier Valley

freedom012010m.jpg
Jan. 20, 2:53 p.m. [Click on sketch to view larger]
freedomkid012010med.jpgBeing a sketcher, I’m used to two-dimensional art, so when I heard about Saturday’s Freedom Festival organized by Arts In Motion, my head started spinning with interest.
It’s all about combining the arts, explained Denise Mimura, a French horn teacher and founder of the arts school serving more than 600 children in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. “Music is the main component but there will be spoken work, dance and visual arts symbols of freedom,” Mimura said.
The festival will feature a performance by Kent Stevenson’s choir of elementary school students. They were rehearsing a version of Duke Ellington’s “Freedom,” when I visited the school this week. “Since the Freedom Fest is a celebration of Martin Luther King and the spirit of peace and liberation, I felt this piece was ideal for the choir since it has a little swing,” he said.
After the rehearsal I complimented the kids for their performance and they were excited to see my sketch. A 10-year old girl said I did a good job drawing Stevenson’s shoes. She said she likes music because “it’s like a hobby.” Jaydon Beleford, 8, said music is his favorite thing to do in the whole world. “It helps me with my rhythm and all the stomping,” he said with a big grin.
The show is at Rainier Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3515 S. Alaska St., Saturday, January 23, at 7 p.m.
Bonus link
Stevenson adapted the lyrics of “Freedom” to make it more meaningful to children. You can download a copy of them here.

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